As many believe that bunkering Nigeria’s oil and vandalizing our pipelines to achieve it gives them wealth or a large piece of the national cake, these activities are close to crippling our economy and slowly bringing our nation to its knees. Vandalism to our fuel pipelines leads to spillage, pipeline fires and explosions, costing us billions in Naira, it presents the single biggest threat to the smooth operation of the petroleum industry in Nigeria and have grave consequences on the entire economy of the country.
Incidents of pipeline vandalism in Nigeria were unprecedented with an increase of about 224 percent in 2011 compared to the number of such cases in 2010. The advent of illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and product theft has massively impacted on the capacity of Nigeria’s massive oil and gas assets to function optimally.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, provides graphic details of how the activities of pipeline vandals complicate the free flow of petroleum products and crude supply in its pipeline system leading to a colossal cost of over N174.57 billion in product losses and repairs of products pipelines within the last 10 years.
Between January and February 2011 Shell Petroleum Development Company in Port Harcourt reported 22 spills resulting from pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Between 2010 and 2012 a total of 2,787 lines breaks were reported on pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), resulting in a loss of 157.81mt of petroleum products worth about N12.53 billion. Pipelines along the Gombe axis recorded 850 cases and Kaduna’s system recorded 571 cases of pipeline vandalism. The pipelines along Warri axis recorded 548 cases of vandalism while Mosimi system pipelines in Lagos recorded 463 cases and Port Harcourt recorded lesser cases with 336 points vandalized. The hostility in the Niger Delta Region was reduced following the amnesty programme of the Federal Government, which facilitated the repair of some pipelines, but suddenly the menace is escalating.
NNPC recorded 19 cases of pipeline breakages due to system deterioration within the period.
According to the NNPC management team lead by the Group Managing Director, Dr Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, he said, “combined working capacity of all the 21 Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, depots nationwide, excluding holding capacities at the refineries, can provide products sufficiency of up to 32 days for petrol, 65 days for kerosene and 42 days for diesel, the activities of the pipeline vandals have made it impossible for the facilities to function full blast.”
A total of 16,083 pipeline breaks were recorded within the last 10 years adding that while 398 pipeline breaks representing 2.4 per cent were due to ruptures, the activities of unpatriotic vandals accounted for 15,685 breaks which translates to about 97.5 percent of the total number of cases.
According to records, the System 2E/2EX which conveys products from the Port Harcourt refinery to Aba- Enugu-Makurdi depots onwards to Yola-Enugu-Auchi appears to be the haven of pipeline vandalism in the country particularly the Port Harcourt-Aba/Isiala-Ngwa axis.
In all, 8,105 breaks were recorded along the system 2E within the period representing about 50.3 percent of the total number of petroleum products pipeline breaks in the country. The attacks left the NNPC with a cost of N78.15 billion in product loses and pipeline repairs.
The System 2A product pipeline route which conveys products from Warri-Benin-Suleja/Ore depots ranks second on the scale of pipeline break points with 3,259 cases representing about 20.2 percent of the total volume of products pipeline breaks in Nigeria. The figure also came with a loss of over N20.39 billion in products and pipeline repairs.
The System 2B which carries products from the Atlas Cove-Mosimi-Satellite-Ibadan-Ilorin depots recorded 2,440 breaks leading to a loss of over N73.6 billion in products and pipeline repairs.
On gas, attacks on the Trans Forcados Pipeline have rendered the TFP out of service since May 2009 thus making it impossible to evacuate crude oil/condensate from some Shell operated facilities. Currently over 300,000 bpd and 140mscfd is deferred and about 55 vandalized points so far repaired at a cost of N11 billion.
The NNPC revealed that it spent over US$42.952million to execute a two-phase repair work which started in September, 2009 on 74 damaged points in System 2C-1. Escravos –Warri Crude Oil Pipelines to enable the start-up of the Warri and Kaduna refineries.
“Crude Oil was introduced into the Warri-Kaduna segment on the 9th of February. Since then, 47 line breaks for crude theft have occurred on this segment resulting in condensate loss and repairs at an additional cost of N1.66 billion,” Barkindo said.
Three points of the pipelines have been vandalized across the country in 2012 naming Port Harcourt, Bayelsa and Warri.
Deaths resulting from pipeline rupture and vandalism
Table 2.2 Recorded Pipeline Explosions and Vandalization in Nigeria
Culled from American International Journal of Contemporary Research Vol. 2 No. 6; June 2012
Pipeline explosion in Jesse, Delta State
1,000 people killed
Explosion in Osisioma LGA, Abia State
50 people killed
10 July, 2000
Pipeline explosion near town of Jesse Village
250 people killed
16 July, 2000
Explosion of rupture pipeline in Warri
100 people died
30 Nov. 2000
A leaking pipeline caught fire near fishing village of Ebute near Lagos
60 people died
Pipeline explosion at Atlas Cove Takwa Bay
500 people killed
19 June, 2003
Explosion of a pipeline punctured by thieves in Umuahia, Abia State.
125 people died
17 Sept., 2004
A pipeline punctured by thieves exploded in Lagos state.
50 people died
21 Dec., 2005
Pipeline explosion in Ehor.
5 people died
12 May, 2006
Another oil pipeline punctured by thieves exploded in Lagos state.
150 people killed
26 Dec. 2006
A vandalized oil pipeline exploded in Lagos.
500 people killed
October 1, 2012 ThisDay online newspaper reported, 15 persons confirmed dead and about 20 others sustaining various degrees of injuries in a pipeline fire while scooping petrol from a broken pipeline at Umueke village in Umueze autonomous community of Osisioma Local Government Area in Abia State.
A more recent table was not available.
How can we help the government protect the wealth meant for us. Report pipeline leaks and discourage scooping. Stop vandalizing pipelines coming through your areas.