The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said on Thursday that it lost about 531 million litres of petrol, valued at about N50 billion, to pipeline vandals between January and September 2015.
The corporation said the loss occurred from various incidents of pipeline vandalism that occurred at various spots along the System 2B pipeline network, from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ilorin in Kwara State.
Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, told the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), that the losses occurred as a result of the incessant hacking of the pipeline, particularly along the notorious Arepo-Mosimi axis.
The sabotaged pipeline artery, Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue explained, had made the task of providing seamless flow of petroleum products to retail outlets in the western part of the country more burdensome.
The PPMC boss said despite the challenge posed by the unavailability of the vital System 2B Pipeline network, the NNPC subsidiary responsible for products marketing and distribution has continued to ensure that the country was supplied with petrol through alternative arrangements, including massive truck-out from fuel depots in Lagos, Oghara, and recently, Calabar.
The efforts by NNPC so far to ensure adequate supply of fuel and removal of fuel queues across the country, the PPMC MD said, were being hampered by the activities of some unscrupulous marketers hoarding the products and perpetrating other sharp practices, including diversion to the black market.
“We view this as a distortion to the economy and we have invited the DSS (Department of State Security) and the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) to take action,” Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue said.
Earlier, the NNPC Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Babatunde Adeniran, said in his presentation that the fuel crisis was exacerbated by the inability of oil marketers to meet their import allocation quotas.
He attributed the development to outstanding subsidy payments by the government, which he said had created a gap the PPMC was trying to bridge, despite the extraneous challenge like hoarding and incessant pipeline sabotage.
On ways to ensure a lasting solution to the perennial problem of fuel scarcity, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Jamila Shu’ara, and leader of the delegation, stressed the need to build strategic reserve stock of petroleum products akin to the national grain reserves across the country.
Committee chairman, Uche Ekwunife, acknowledged the efforts made so far by the NNPC to ensure unimpeded fuel supply, saying the ministry was given two weeks within which to restore normalcy to the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.