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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reported as many as 45,347 incidents of breaches on its oil pipelines between 2001 and mid-2019, the corporation’s managing director Mele Kyari said on Tuesday, after an explosion believed to have been caused by oil thieves killed at least five people late on Sunday.
NNPC and the other oil companies operating in Nigeria need to be able to operate efficiently so that Nigeria’s economy can prosper, NNPC’s head Kyari said, as carried by Nigerian media.
“Unfortunately, the combination of crude oil theft, illegal refining and pipeline vandalism, has become a major threat to Nigeria in meeting its revenue projections in recent time,” Kyari noted.
On Sunday, at least five people died and dozens of others were rushed to hospital after an oil pipeline exploded in Nigeria in a blast that the authorities believe was caused by oil thieves who ruptured the pipeline belonging to the NNPC.
“These insertions into the p/lines can never be done in isolation. There’s a huge conspiracy of silence around this tragic situation. I mean conspiracy of silence from those who have the responsibility to protect the pipeline & those who watch this happen,” Kyari said on Tuesday.
“We are counting on Nigerians to help us resolve this as it is becoming a matter of national security concern,” he added.
NNPC has often raised the alarm that oil pipeline vandalism in Nigeria is soaring. For example, the number of incidents of breached pipelines surged by 115 percent in July 2019 compared to June, NNPC said last year.
Pipeline vandalism, as well as pipeline sabotages by militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta area, has plagued Nigeria’s oil production and exports for years. Over the past year and a half, militant activity has subsided, allowing Nigeria to boost its crude oil production, and also making Africa’s largest oil producer a full-fledged participant in the production cuts of the OPEC+ coalition.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.