The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has reported the detection of more than 4,800 unauthorized connections on oil pipelines within the country.
This alarming revelation paints a somber picture of the primary source of income for Nigeria.
“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.”
The CEO of NNPCL stated that individuals from various regions of the country are flocking to the oil-producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria to illegally tap into the pipelines.
This recent update comes after the company uncovered 295 unauthorized connections to their pipelines a year ago, highlighting the escalating issue of crude oil theft in Nigeria.
In a statement made two years ago, Kyari revealed that Nigeria was losing 200,000 barrels of oil, equivalent to $13 million, each day due to theft and acts of 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.”
Following the revelation, Nigeria’s security forces made a commitment to enhance the security measures surrounding the nation’s pipelines.
In an effort to bolster the security protocols, the Federal Government granted a lucrative pipelines surveillance contract worth billions of naira to Tantita Security Services, under the leadership of former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo, also known as Tompolo.
Despite facing criticism for this decision, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum, firmly believes that it was the appropriate course of action.
“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.
The Petroleum Industry Bill, which was finally passed in 2021 following extensive deliberations and delays, seeks to attract increased foreign investment in the oil sector through revised regulations, royalties, and tax provisions.