WorldWide Drilling Resource®

Nigerian Pipelines Plagued by Vandals ~ Will HDD Help? Compiled by Bonnie Love, Editor, WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Pipeline vandalism has been a big problem in Nigeria for years. Earlier this year, vandals trying to steal gas and oil caused explosions and fires when they punctured parts of the pipeline network in Abule Egba, Lagos. In addition to destroying 11 buildings and 36 vehicles, it also took the lives of five innocent Nigerians while dozens were taken to the hospital with injuries. The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari said, “It’s unfortunate we lost five lives to this inferno, with many in critical condition in the hospitals, all due to unpatriotic acts of vandals along our pipeline right of way, who make insertions into the pipelines to steal products, leading to disasters such as this.” He visited the site and fielded questions about the problem, while urging Nigerians to report offenders to the security agencies. NNPC first raised the alarm last year when the number of breached pipeline incidents increased 115% in one month. According to NNPC records, there were 45,347 pipeline breaks on its downstream pipeline network across the country between 2001 and June of 2019, costing the country more than $41 billion. The cost is more than just lost revenue. Pipeline vandals have left most of NNPC depots inactive, which means gas and oil is being hauled in tanker trucks, wreaking havoc on the country’s roads and bridges. In addition to collaborating with security agencies in the country to pre- vent pipeline vandalism, the corporation is considering other options, including the use of horizontal directional drilling (HDD). The vandalized pipelines are currently out in the open. Using HDD technology to place the pipelines under- ground, would make it difficult for van- dals to continue their illegal activities. “We a r e hav i ng a synd i ca t ed approach to the pipeline challenge. First, there is the security aspect of it, over which we are getting the optimum support and cooperation of the entire security network spearheaded by the chief of defense staff. This is working already. Another is at the level of the National Assembly which has stepped into this, with an ad hoc committee working on how to assist us to stem the menace of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft,” Kyari stated. Even President Muhammadu Buhari considers it a matter of national urgency to guarantee energy security in the country. He said curtailing the vandalism would also ensure resources do not end up in the hands of the wrong people to prevent collateral damage. According to Kyari, if the depots were operating the way they were intended, people in Apapa, Lagos, wouldn’t be experiencing the regular congestion of tankers on the roads. 8 JUNE 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® DIR