The Federal Government is considering the establishment of a special security force to tackle vandalism of pipelines in the Niger Delta.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this at the weekend in Warri, Delta State, after an assessment of the damage to pipelines at the Forcados Terminal, said the country was losing about 250,000 barrels of oil per day.
Osinbajo said vandalism was also affecting gas supply to the country’s power stations and the government was exploring different ways to deal with the issue.
Addressing journalists after inspection, the Vice President said “efforts are being made by the Federal and state governments as well as communities to tackle current vandalism challenges,” adding that government was also looking beyond the present situation to determine what can be done in the future.
One of the future steps the Buhari’s administration could take to forestall the perpetration of vandalism, Osinbajo said, is to establish “a permanent pipeline security force.”
He said such a force if formed “would be armed with sophisticated weapons to ensure we contain the vandalism and overhaul security.”
He said a permanent pipeline security force is an option to look at.
Referring to the loss of gas supply to power plants and the loss of potential foreign exchange earning arising from the inability to produce over 250,000 barrels of oil per day, due to the damage done to the terminal, the Vice President said the pipeline vandalism which damaged the Forcados Terminal has led to low supply of gas, meaning that most of the power plants are not functioning to installed capacity.
“The damage done to Forcados affects our oil earnings but also as important is the power aspect. It (Forcados)-is a major source of gas, about 40 per cent of our gas supply is affected leading to the problem of power supply in the country,” the Vice President said to Shell officials led by Usage Okunbor, Country Chairperson, and NNPC officials led by Bello Rabiu, the Chief Operating Officer for Upstream.
The Bongo Gas Diversion project would provide 120mmscf/d when completed by the second quarter of this year while the Forcados/Yokri gas project would provide 80mmscf/d at completion expected at the same timeline.
There is also the Assa North/Ohaji South project, which can also provide 500mmscf/d.
Experts say currently, gas production into the domestic network in the country has fallen to 601mmscf/d from usual 1.1bcf/d. The implication is that the country is now losing about half a billion cf/d, which roughly accounts for about 2000MW of electricity.
Also commenting on the issue, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Akowa, who accompanied the Vice President all through the visit, said, “the Forcados terminal is important to Delta State and the nation.
“That is where SPDC evacuates its products and other land operations including Seplat evacuating products from there for sale. Now, all the production on land by SPDC is shortened,” he lamented.