Below 40% of 5,120km pipeline operational in Nigeria, says NNPC

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has revealed that only 38 per cent of the over 5,120 kilometre owned by the state oil company is functioning.

Although the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, while admitting that pipelines remained the safest way to move crude oil and products, he said the Corporation has struggled to efficiently operate the facilities over the past two decades.

Speaking at Energy & Corporate Africa-organised forum on, “Next Level: Critical Pipeline Infrastructure and Promoting Gas Utilisation Option Post Cover-19,” he said persistent vandalism remained the biggest challenge of the infrastructure with recurring product losses.

Kyari, who was represented by the Managing Director, Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Limited, Ada Oyetunde, noted that dearth of investment, accelerated deterioration, and lack of investment in technology to secure the pipeline are critical barriers to the development of the downstream infrastructure.

“Currently about 38 per cent of the pipeline system is operational,” he stated, adding that with the mandate to overhaul the refineries to 90 per cent capacity, there was a need to improve the pipelines.

He also argued that pipelines, depots and terminal infrastructure are being revamped across Nigeria with some of the projects on the verge of tendering, adding that build, operate and transfer (BOT) model is being used to resuscitate most of the assets in the face of dwindling revenue and economic challenges.

The new pipelines being designed would come with holistic monitoring technology, including supervisory control and data acquisition systems and other technologies to detect intrusion and leaks as well clear right-of-way and smart fencing.

Kyari disclosed that operators would charge market-reflective tariff on the infrastructure to allow them recover their cost and discharge obligations that affect safety, environmental, tax, legal and return on investment.

Chairman, Pipelines Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN), Geoff Onuoha, stressed the need for the country to properly maintain the pipelines across, which are already ageing, while looking for better ways to operate the assets.

He also urged experts to chart the right path, while policymakers in the public and private sectors should devise a collective approach to addressing the sector’s challenges.

Chief Operating Officer, Oilserv, Gbite Falade, who noted that gas resources are huge, and must push the country to invest in infrastructure to harness them.

He argued that insufficient pipelines are a critical hurdle to the government’s efforts to boost gas utilisation, and a disincentive to foreign direct investment (FDI) for the development of the upstream sector.

Falade said: “Until sufficient investments to proliferate the gas pipe system are made, development of the gas domestic market will remain non-viable and uneconomic,” while urging appropriate pricing of gas, compliance with extant market regulations as well as commercially-structured and project-financed approach.

Head, Pipeline Engineering, Shell, Ayoola Olatunji, said Nigeria is sitting on many resources that would have improved the economy, addressed energy challenges and others through gas utilisation. He noted that a lot still needs to be done on gas-to-power and encouraging investment in gas systems to home.

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