Recently the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation took practical steps to tame the menace of pipelines vandals, especially along the corporation’s system 2B which has suddenly become more prone to the activities of pipeline vandals by deploring Horizontal drilling which would further make it difficult for the vandals to easily access the pipelines underground.
The state-of-the-art Horizontal Direct Drilling System, HDD, designed to re-direct the pipelines and ensure that vandals and hackers don’t gain easy access to the pipelines by burying them deeper into the ground.
A total 744 vandalised points were discovered between Lagos and Ilorin depot services by system 2B with its attendant environmental and economic implications. “We had over 774 break points within three months from August to October 2012 from Atlas Cove to Ilorin depot. Between Atlas Cove and Mosimi depot, we recorded 181 break points, from Mosimi to Ibadan, we had 421 raptured points and from Mosimi to Ore, we recorded 50 vandalized points. Also between Ibadan and Ilorin we had a total of 122 break points, “Andrew Yakubu, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said.
The renewed effort of the Andrew Yakubu-led leadership, was informed by the latest onslaught by vandals that were hell bent on frustrating the petroleum product supply in the South Western part of the country.
On Monday, January 14, the NNPC boss visited Arepo for an on-the-spot assessment of the ruptured System 2B Pipeline which had caught fire as a result of the activities of oil thieves who hacked into it. Before then, three managers of the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company were brutally murdered by Pipeline vandals.
On that occasion, the NNPC boss assured Nigerians that the incident (the third in a series of attacks on the System 2B Pipeline that supplies products to Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Ilorin Depots) would not cause fuel scarcity in any part of the country.
It was at the venue of the incident that he unfolded the short and long-term measures to redeem Arepo from the hands of oil thieves and pipeline vandals, some of which include:
• Immediate mobilisation of engineers to site to clamp and fix the ruptured points to restore pumping of petroleum products in keeping with his promise that no part of the country would suffer fuel scarcity on account of the incident.
• Clearing of the Pipeline Right of Way to make the area accessible and difficult for oil thieves and vandals to carry out their nefarious activities in hiding.
• Deployment of a technology to make the pipeline inaccessible to oil thieves and vandals.
It is worthy of note that all the short-term measures have been put in place to ensure that no part of the country suffered fuel scarcity.
The helmsman stay committed to promise of restoring sanity to the Arepo axis by paying a working visit to the site recently. This tour was designed to consolidate on the ongoing clearance of the system 2B right of way by engineers of the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps. And also herald the introduction of the state-of-the art Horizontal Direct Drilling System, HDD, designed to re-direct the pipelines and ensure that vandals and hackers do not have easy access to the pipelines by burying them deeper into the ground.
Already, an indigenous engineering firm, ENIKKOM, has been mobilised to redirect the pipeline from the reach of vandals with modern technology to monitor the pipeline on a regular basis.
“The engineering firm is bringing modern technology to bear on the system by burying the pipelines much deeper. New pipelines will be used to change the configuration in order to keep pipeline vandals away from the Corporation’s critical infrastructure, he said.
Though the NNPC is working hard to ensure effective distribution of petroleum products across the country through increased trucking, the trucking option comes with enormous cost which is totally unsustainable. Petroleum Industry Bill or not, privatisation or no privatisation, no industry can survive under this kind of arrangement.
Records indicate that with the incessant attacks on the nation’s vast artery of pipelines about 70 percent products distribution is through trucking or what is known in the industry parlance 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.