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The Nigerian petroleum industry has been confronted by two sapping challenges over the years. The challenges relates to the prevalence of militancy and oil pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
While the former has significantly attenuated in the aftermath of the Amnesty deal in 2009 (Okoli, 2013), the latter appears to have escalated both in incidence and impact. According to Ogbeni:
A total of 16,083 pipeline breaks were recorded within the last 10 years adding that while 398 pipeline breaks representing 2.4 percent were due to ruptures, the activities of unpatriotic vandals accounted for 15, 685 breaks which translated to about 97.5 percent of the total number of cases (Ogbeni, 2012, para 8).
Indeed, the incidence of oil pipeline vandalism has been on the rise in Nigeria. According to the 2013 annual report of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigeria lost a total of 10.9 billion US Dollars to oil theft between 2009 and 2011 (NEITI, 2013; Onoja, 2013). This loss adumbrates the significance of vandalism as a veritable problem in the Nigerian oil industry. The implication of oil pipeline vandalism vis-a-vis Nigeria’s security has been vividly demonstrated by its nexus with economic, environmental, and humanitarian losses and consequences (Onuoha, 2009). In effect, oil pipeline vandalism has been associated with consequences which hold negative implications for national issue of oil pipeline vandalism, in spite of its topical relevance, has not received adequate emphasis in the existing literature. Again, the bulk of the extant works in the area of inquiry has tended to be merely journalistic, bereft of analytical rigours and systematization. This has necessitated a systematic investigation into the problematique. This paper, therefore, an attempt is made to establish the relationship between oil pipeline vandalism and national security in Nigeria. The paper posits that oil pipeline vandalism results in untoward outcomes which threaten Nigeria’s national security.
The discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri in 1956 marked the birth of the petroleum industry in Niger. Since then, the Nigeria economy has been more or less dependent on petroleum. To facilitate the distribution of crude oil product from the oil rich Nigeria Delta to other parts of the country, a network of oil pipelines was constructed to inter-link some states at strategic locations (Onuorah, 2007).
Nigeria has a total pipeline grid of 5001 kilometers. This consists of 4315 kilometers of multiproduct pipelines and 666 kilometers of crude oil pipelines. These pipelines transverse the country, forming a network that inter-connects the 22 petroleum storage depots, the four refineries at Port-Harcourt (I and II), Kaduna and Warri, the off-shore terminals at Bonny and, Escravos, and the jelties at Alas Cove,
Calabar, Okirika and Warri (Onuoha, 2007, p.6). This system of oil pipelines are used to transport crude oil to the refineries in Port-Harcourt (I and II), Warri and Kaduna, covering a total distance of 719 kilometres. The multi-product pipelines are used to transport products from the refineries/import receiving jetties to the 22 petroleum storage depots at various places in the country. The storage infrastructure consisting of 22 loading depots linked by pipeline of various diameters has aggregate installed capacities of 1,266890 (PMS), 676 400 (DPK), 1007 900 (AGO), and 74 000 (ATK) m3tonnes (Special Committee on the Review of Petroleum Product s Supply Distribution- SCRPPSD, 2000, p.10).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE RESEARCH
The Niger Delta Avengers
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) which are militant, a group in Nigeria's Niger Delta. The group publicly announced their existence in March 2016. The NDA have attacked oil producing facilities in the delta, causing the shutdown of oil terminals and a fall in Nigeria's oil production to its lowest level in twenty years.[BBC News Online. 16 May 2016] The attacks caused Nigeria to fall behind Angola as Africa's largest oil producer.[Elena Holodny (16 May 2016)] The reduced oil output has hampered the Nigerian economy and destroyed its budget,[The Economist. 25 June 2016] since Nigeria depends on the oil industry for nearly all its government revenues.
The NDA's declared aims are to create a sovereign state in the Niger Delta and have threatened to disrupt Nigeria's economy if their aims are not met. The NDA claims its members are "young, educated, well travelled...and educated in east Europe". The group have criticised the President of Nigeria, MuhammaduBuhari, for having never visited the delta and his detention of the Biafran independence activist NnamdiKanu.
Vandalization by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA)
The following dates are the attack or the vandalism from the Niger Delta Avengers since there existence from, within this year 2016.
Several gas pipelines and oil installations located in Warri South West were blown up following orders issued by a Nigerian High Court in Lagos to arrest the ex-militant leader Government Ekpemupolo.
At approximately 1:30am NDA militants blew up the Bonny-Soku Gas Export Line.
NDA militants destroyed Shell's underwater Forcados 48-inch Export Pipline at the Forcados Export Terminal.
At approximately 3:30am NDA militants blew up Eni's Clough Creek-Tebidaba Pipeline in Bayelsa State.
NDA militants attacked and heavily damaged the Chevron Valve Platform located at Abiteye, Warri South. This platform is reportedly Chevron's most significant platform as it serves as a connecting point where all of Chevron's other Niger Delta platforms link-up.
Shell's underwater Forcados 48-inch Export Pipeline was once again blown up by militants shortly after repairs commenced following the February 14 attack.
The Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System, linking Warri to Lagos was blown up by NDA militants.
The NDA's Strike Team 7 launched a coordinated attack on several Chevron oil installations located in Abiteye, resulting in the destruction of Chevron Well D25 and several other major pipelines in the area.
The crude oil pipeline linking Warri to Kaduna was blown up by the NDA's Strike Team 7 as well as a gas line that supplies both Lagos and Abuja with electricity.
Oil pipelines located near the villages of Alero, Dibi, Otunana, and Makaraba were blown up the NDA's Strike Team 7.
3 Nigerian soldiers were killed during a shootout with NDA militants in the village of Foropa, Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa.
The Chevron pipeline at Makaraba was blown up for a second time in 7 days following repairs done by Chevron.
The Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System was once again blown up by NDA militants following the commencement of repairs being done on the pipeline following the May 5 attack.
NDA militants blew up Chevron's main electricity feed pipeline, located at the Escravos Tank Farm at Ciera Creek.
At approximately 2:15am NDA militants blew Eni and Shell's pipelines 1, 2, and 3 located at Nembe, Bayelsa State.
At approximately 11:45pm NDA militants blew up several gas and oil pipelines belong to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation located near Warri.
NDA militants were forced to retreat from the villages of Gulobokri and Eweleso, Brass following a series of clashes with Nigerian soldiers, resulting in the deaths of approximately 20 civilians, 2 police officers, and an unknown number of militants/Nigerian soldiers.
At approximately 3:44am Chevron's Oil Wells RMP23 and RMP24 located near the village of Dibi, Warri South-West, Chevron's highest producing wells in the Niger Delta, were blown up by NDA militants.
Five boats loaded with heavily armed militants attacked a houseboat near the village of Ijere, Warri South, where Nigerian soldiers were reportedly stationed. 2 Nigerian soldiers and 4 civilians were killed during the attack. The NDA claims they were not behind the attack and stated they will "bring the culprits to book".[NDA. 2 June 2016]
At approximately 2:00am NDA militants blew up the Ogboinbiri-Tebidaba and Cough Creek-Tebidaba pipelines, belonging to Eni, in Bayelsa State.
A continuation of the vandalization by the Niger Delta Avengers will be listed in chapter two section 2.2 review of concept and its effect to the economy (Nigeria)
The Nigerian oil Pipeline
The Nigerian oil Pipeline infrastructure has been subjected to incessant attacks by vandals over the years. The frequency of such attacks has been rather disturbing in the recent times. For instance, in 1999 alone, there were a total of 477 recorded cases of pipeline vandalization in Nigeria (see Tables 2 below).
The incessant occurrence of oil pipeline vandalism in Nigeria has raised the question as to whether the pipeline networks were laid in such a manner that forecloses easy vandalization. This is in addition to the question as to whether the pipelines are policed and protected at all. Indeed, some safety valves were considered while laying the pipelines. For instance, the government acquired 3.5 metres wide right of way (ROW) on each side of the pipelines; also the pipes were buried a miter deep to avoid accidental contacts, or vandalization. Despite these safety valves, recent experience in Nigeria has shown that the integrity and safety of these pipelines have been incessantly compromised because of the activities of vandals and saboteurs. The vandals fracture the oil pipelines with the criminal intent of obtaining and appropriating petroleum products for commercial purposes or personal use. The table below (Table 2) highlights the incidence of oil pipeline vandalization in Nigeria in 1990s.
Year Number of Incidents Remarks
1995 7 cases Reported cases only
1996 33 cases Reported cases only
1997 34 cases Reported cases only
1998 57 cases Reported cases only
1999 497 cases Reported cases only
If the figures on table 2 are anything to go by, the implication is that the incidence of pipeline vandalization has been on geometrical increase. This trend has got even worse since 2000. Available statistics show that Port Harcourt, which recorded about 600 pipeline breaks in 2003, had about 1,650 breaks from January to September, 2006. Similarly Warri axis moved from only 100 pipeline breaks to 600 during the same period (Amanze–Nwachukwu and Ogbu, 2007, p.14).
Cases of pipeline breaks have also been recorded in the northern parts of Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna and Gombe State (Onuoha, 2007).
In effect available records clearly indicate that incidence of oil pipeline vandalism has been on the spiral increase in Nigeria. The vandals appear to have acquired more criminal discipline, sophistication and efficiency in perpetrating oil pipeline vandalism with apparent ease and impunity. So, the incidence has been escalating. A media report by Ogbeni (2012, para 5) succinctly situates the rising incidence of oil pipeline vandalism in Nigeria in recent times thus:
Between 2010 and 2012, total of 2,787 lines breaks were reported on pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), resulting in a loss of 157.81mt of petroleum products worth about ₦12.53bilion. Pipeline along the Gombe axis recorded 850 cases and Kaduna system recorded 571 cases of pipeline vandalism. The pipeline along Warri axis recorded 548 cases vandalism while Mosimi system pipelines in Lagos recorded 463 cases and Port Harcourt recorded lesser cases of vandalism while mosimi system pipelines in Lagos recorded 463 cases and porthacort recorded lesser cases with 336 point vandalized.
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