…justifies contract to private security outfit
The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has said that Nigeria will stop fuel importation and become a net exporter of the product by the middle of next year. This assurance was given yesterdaybytheChief ExecutiveOfficer( CEO) of thecompany, MeleKyari, ataministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team at the Presidential Villa. Accordingtohim, with the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, and the anticipated completion of the Dangote Refinery in Lagos, the country will be self-sustaining in the production of fuel.
Kyari, who explained that some pipelines were shut down because of their inability to meet production costs due to losses, also lamented that the challenge of oil theft had become disturbing, revealing that some vandals now tapped crude from churches and mosques. On ending fuel importation, the NNPCL boss said that the company acquired 20 per cent equity in Dangote Refinery and would be obliged to take 20 per cent of the finished product for local consumption when it becomes operational.
He said the refinery would come on stream latest by the middle of next year, adding that: “If it does, this refinery alone, because it has a 650,000 per barrel capacity and a different technology, which means that it can crack the crude in a manner that you can have more gasoline than a typical refinery.
“That means that the refinery has the ability to produce up to 50 million litres of PMS. So, the combination of that and our own ability to bring back our refinery will completely eliminate any potential petroleum product imports into this country nextyear. Youwillnotseeany importationintothiscountry next year. This is very practical. This is possible.
“As a matter of fact, when we’re done with our refineries and the Dangote Refinery, there will be very many small initiatives that we are doing; small, modular, condenser refineries that we’re building, if that happens, and we are very optimistic it will happen “You will see that this country will now be a net exporter, wehopetoexportpetroleum products, not just to the westAfricansubregion, butto the rest of the world. This will happen, theflowof supplywill change – by the middle of next yearitwillchange. So, youwill have no need for importation of petroleum products into this country by the middle of next year.” Lamenting the level of losses on the nation’s pipelines, Kyari said the illegal business of pipeline vandals cut across different regions and religious organisations where the pipelines pass through, adding that some of the pipelines are illegally connected around churches and mosques.
Emphasising that the issue of crude oil theft was real, he said the company was not helpless as its efforts were paying off. According to him, 295 illegal connections were discovered in one line in less than 200 meters, and that the company with the help of the security agencies and the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, were able to intervene.
He said so far, 30 speed boats, 179 wooden boats, 37 trucks have been arrested, adding that the authorities have taken the decision not to arrest any longer but to burn such confiscated products. He equally disclosed that 122 persons, including highly placed individuals, had been arrested between April and August 2022 and that some of them have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC) for prosecution. Kyari announced the discovery of 739 ovens for oil theft with some destroyed, 344 reservoirs created by thieves and 355 cooking pots recovered by the security agencies. The NNPCL boss explained that the pipelines between the Atlas Cove to Ibadan, 37 depots had to be shut because of the activities of the vandals.
This, he stressed, made it imperative for the company to transport the products by trucks on the road across the country. On oil thieves using private homes and worship centres, Kyari said: “You remember that Lagos area. When a fire outbreak happened in one of our pipelines, we discovered that some of the pipelines were actually connected to individuals homes and not only that, and with all sensitivity to our religious beliefs, you know, some of the pipelines and some of the products that we found, are actually in churches and in mosques.”
Clarifying the controversial engagement of Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) for pipeline surveillance, he explained that the contract was not awarded to Tompolo as a person but to a company he had interest in. He stated that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded contracts for pipeline surveillance, noting that the contract was in the interest of the people. He added that the Federal Government has taken the right decision to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide.