One moment, one story is the situation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). Now it is crying out that vandalism on over 5,000 kilometers of oil pipelines across the country is a national calamity.
On Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mele Kyari, at an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), repeated the often recurring promise that the country’s four oil refineries would be made functional soon.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, had promised that one of the refineries would be functional in December.
But neither Kyari on Tuesday restated the date, nor has Lokpobiri repeated that promise.
The NNPC CEO, threw up his hands in helplessness claiming that vandalism has remained a bane for decades, as the company had not been able to pump oil through pipeline from Warri to Benin within the last 22 years.
“Over 5,000 kilometers oil pipelines in the country are not working. As a result of pipeline vandalism, 10 million litres of oil was lost from volume pumped from Aba to Enugu at a time.
“The company has been unable to pump oil from Warri to Benin within the last 22 years and cannot connect to Ore.
“There is no amount of security measures that had not been taken to curb the crime without success, which to us in NNPCL, is substantially a national calamity”, he said.
He, however, said as a way out, the company is embarking on massive replacement of the pipelines which aside being vandalised, are old and obsolete .
He explained further to the committee that deregulation of the oil sector and in particular, subsidy removal carried out in May this year , has turned NNPCL into a profitable company .
According to him, before deregulation in 2018, the company made loss of N802billion but after deregulation in 2021, made excess profit of N687billion .
Unlike in the past when 67 million litres of oil was consumed per day during the subsidy regime, today an average of 55 million are being consumed, even though his assertion has remained controversial.
He also disclosed that the problem of smuggling of refined products across borders, has ceased.