The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has discovered over 4,800 illegal connections on oil pipelines in the country in what is a grim picture of the country’s major income earner.
“We have over 4,800 illegal connections on our pipelines. That means in some lines, within 100 kilometres of pipelines, you have as much as 300 insertions,” the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL Mele Kyari told the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Friday.
“Therefore, even when you produce the oil, you cannot deliver them at the required pressure and therefore the volume will also be less.”
According to the NNPCL boss, people troop in from other parts of the country to insert illegal connections on pipelines in the oil-producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The latest development came about one year after the firm discovered 295 illegal connections to its pipeline, a development that further amplified the massive crude oil theft in Nigeria.
Two years ago, Kyari said the country was losing 200,000 barrels of oil valued at $13 million daily to theft and vandalism.
“We have two sets of losses, one coming from our products and the other coming from crude oil,” he said. “In terms of crude losses, it is still going on. On the average, we are losing 200,000 barrels of crude every day.”
Nigeria’s security forces had in the wake of the discovery promised to tighten security on the country’s pipelines. In a bid to strengthen security on the pipelines, the Federal Government awarded a a multi-billion naira pipelines surveillance deal to Tantita Security Services led by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo aka Tompolo.
Despite criticisms of the move, the Minister of State for Petroleum Senator Heineken Lokpobiri believes it was the right step.
“I want to also use the opportunity to express our gratitude to Tantita who has been commissioned by the NNPCL to be able to do some work but we are going to do a lot more,” he said in August after a tour of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
A new law, the Petroleum Industry Bill, passed in 2021 after years of debate and delays aimed to bring more foreign investment in the oil sector with amendments to regulations, royalties, and taxes.