The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday that it had seen a 77-percent jump in the number of cases of oil and fuel pipeline vandalism on its pipeline infrastructure in June.
As many as 106 pipeline points were breached in June, up from 60 breaches on NNPC’s pipeline network in May, the company said in its latest Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).
“In spite of the wanton breaches of its critical pipeline network during the period, the corporation ensured continuous fuel supply and effective distribution across the country,” NNPC said in a statement.
Insufficient pipeline safety has been one of the key drawbacks of Nigeria’s oil sector in recent years.
NNPC is trying to clamp down on vandalism and has teamed up with a state security company to improve the safety of oil pipelines, The Guardian reported last week, citing officials from the two companies.
NNPC and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will implement a new, performance-based pipeline protection system to cut down on vandalism and oil theft, which have plagued the local oil industry for decades and have been responsible in part for the excessive spills and leaks in the Niger Delta.
Leaks in pipelines crisscrossing the Niger Delta are often caused by oil theft, and field operators have frequently declared force majeure on exports of key Nigerian crude grades. This has hurt exports and oil revenues, which has been particularly hard on the Nigerian budget during the latest price crisis.
Earlier this year, Nigeria’s oil operations were disrupted several times due to fires, shutdowns, force majeure, and protests. In April and May, a key oil pipeline and a logistics base in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta were rocked by a shutdown and protests in the latest incident that disrupted the Nigerian oil industry in the spring.