The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said the activities of vandals who break into pipelines to steal petroleum products could cripple the downstream sector of the industry if left unchecked. The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, was quoted as saying in a statement that in less than five months, the corporation’s pipelines were broken in 774 places by vandals.
Yakubu said this at the 3rd Triennial Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association in Abuja. According to him, less than one week after the vital System 2B was restored through extensive repair work on the ruptured Arepo point in Ogun State, the corporation was compelled to shut the line again due to Monday’s attack on the Ije-Ododo point in Lagos State.
He lamented the unending incidents of pipeline hacking and product theft, which he said posed great danger to the efficient distribution and supply of petroleum products in some parts of the country. If left unchecked, he added, the nefarious activities of pipeline marauders could cripple the smooth operation of the downstream sector of the industry.
Records indicate that with the incessant attacks on the nation’s vast artery of pipelines about 70 per cent of products distribution is through trucking or what is known in the industry as bridging into the hinterlands. This requires massive fleets of petroleum product trucks of up to 1, 212 trucks load out from the depots every day to meet the daily estimated national consumption. At an average vehicle turnaround of about eight to 10 days from the South to the North and return, a minimum of 10,000 trucks are required to ply the roads daily.