The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, said over 5,686 illegal oil refining sites were discovered between 2021 and January 2024.
Kyari disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking as a guest lecturer during the 2024 Faculty Lecture titled, ‘Energy Security, Sustainability and Profitability in Nigeria: Advances, Challenges and Opportunities’, organised by the Faculty of Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The NNPCL boss said the challenges posed by pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft have impacted the corporation’s operations, stressing that the establishment of a command-and-control centre has aided the detection and destruction of illegal refinery sites.
A statement by the NNPCL Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye, quoted Kyari as saying, “The centre provides live streaming of surveillance data to security forces, contributing to the detection and destruction of over 5,686 Illegal Refinery (IR) sites and the removal of 4,480 Illegal Connections (ICs) from 2021 to the present.”
While acknowledging the severity of vandalism and oil theft, Kyari had hinted at a strategic shift, focusing on increased product trucking and storage in underground tankages at NNPC filling stations nationwide.
Speaking further, he called for collaboration between the academic and the oil and gas industry towards addressing the challenges of energy sufficiency and sustainability.
In his lecture, Kyari highlighted the important role played by the academic communities in safeguarding national energy security through research and collaboration with the industry.
While pointing out the challenges hindering energy security in Nigeria to include rapid population growth, pipeline vandalism, and crude oil theft, he identified “energy conservation, diversification, and efficiency measures as major avenues for enhancing energy security.”
Kyari said the removal of fuel subsidies has allowed the NNPCL to play a more active commercial role, ensuring profitability and delivering greater value to Nigeria’s growing population.
The Federal Government, in November 2023, revealed that more than N4.3 trillion worth of crude oil was stolen in 7,143 pipeline vandalism cases within five years.
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