4,000 illegal connections exist in NNPCL’s pipeline, Kyari tells senate - THISDAY
By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and John Akubo, Abuja
• Insists Port Harcourt Refinery Will Begin Operation This Month
Facts about Nigeria’s continuous failure to meet its oil production target were laid bare on the floor of the Senate yesterday with a damning revelation that over 4,800 illegal connections exist in the pipeline of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL).
Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, who was at the Senate to speak to issues on how unrealistic the crude oil production benchmark of 1.8mb/d could be, noted that it is advisable to stick to the 1.7mb/d benchmark proposed by the President.
Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriation, and Senator representing Ogun West, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, had made the suggestion at the Budget Defence session between his committee and the management of the NNPCL.
The NNPCL boss told the committee that the oil giant would stick to the benchmark approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Appropriation Bill.
Kyari submitted that the crude oil price and production benchmarks were based on dynamics in the global oil market.
He said:” I will advise that we stick to the submission of Mr. President on the quota. There is no way we will get crude oil less than $70.
“Once economies are growing, there will be sustained demands for crude oil in our country and other countries. The estimates supplied by Mr. President are realistic. When we say production, we mean total production of crude oil and condensates. So, we combine condensates and crude oil as total marginal production. So we know our estimates are realistic. There is no curtailment on condensates from OPEC.”
Reinforcing his stance on realistic estimates by President Tinubu, Kyari however cautioned that security challenges in the Niger Delta Region could frustrate the projections of the Federal Government, citing crude oil theft.
Kyari told the gathering of lawmakers and journalists that illegal crude oil bunkering in the oil producing states was alarming as he revealed that there were over 4,800 illegal connections on crude oil pipelines.
“Over 4,800 illegal connections on our pipeline. That means within 100 kilometres of pipeline, Mr. Chairman, you will have as much as 300 insertions. That means every kilometre you will have an insertion. If you continue this insertion, even when you seal it up, it can no longer hold the pressure that it will pump the fuel.
“Therefore, even when you produce the oil, you cannot deliver it at the required pressure and therefore the volume will also be less,” Kyari stressed.
He also advised against the use of non-state actors in securing pipelines.
“Today, there’s no lack of intelligence. And our armed forces have done great work of it. But when you have everyone involved in infractions on the pipeline, end to end, it could be difficult.
“The situation we have in Niger Delta in terms of security is a calamity. We don’t have that anywhere in the world.”
To engage non-state actors as last resort as solution is abnormal. But we have to respond abnormally. You have over 4,800 illegal connections on our pipelines. That means, within every kilometre, you have an insertion. Even if you seal all the insertions, you can’t get what you want in terms of production.
“In the Niger Delta, people are coming from all parts of the country to do illegal refining. That’s why we engage locals to deal with it. We will contain this challenge. We are doing everything possible to restore sanity. What is happening is a colossal damage to the environment and the host communities,” he added.
Kyari also gave an update on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s four refineries.
He insisted that the Port Harcourt refineries would come on stream in this month while Warri Refinery would resume production in the first quarter of 2024.
The NNPCL GCEO gave December 2024 as the production target of the Kaduna Refinery. The lawmakers frowned at the N406 billion remitted to the Federation Account as dividend between July to November from the NNPCL, dismissing it as nothing to cheer about.
The lawmakers tasked the management of the oil giant to strive to be like its global peers, citing the Saudi Aramco and the Petrobas of Brazil. Kyari, in his defence, noted that until the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, the company was not run like a profit driven enterprise.