FG acquires pipelines worth N12.43bn, pays IOCs $4bn
The Federal Government said it has so far paid $4.04bn to five international oil companies as cash call arrears repayment and has spent N12.43bn on pipeline protection and maintenance in 2022, THECONSCIENCEng learnt on Sunday.
Latest information on pipeline security/maintenance cost obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited showed that the N12.43bn was spent by the government through NNPC between January and June this year.
Figures from the oil company indicated that pipeline security/maintenance gulped N1.1bn, N368m and N2.61bn in January, February and March 2022 respectively.
The NNPC spent N498m in May and N8.35bn in June to secure and maintain its pipelines, while the firm subtracted N464m in April from the total amount during the review period.
The country’s crude oil production has continued to slump due to the repeated vandalism of pipelines and attendant theft of humongous volumes of crude.
The N12.43bn spent in the first six months of this year to protect pipelines came as the oil company recently contracted the surveillance of its pipelines to a contractor, a development that elicited diverse reactions.
NNPC released a report on August 30, 2022, that it awarded a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance contract to a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, was the “right decision.”
The Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC, Mele Kyari, had told journalists in Abuja recently that the decision was due to the need for Nigeria to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network due to a massive oil theft.
He said, “The security agencies are doing their part. End-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.
“We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines. So, we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision.”
The pipeline surveillance contract is said to worth N48bn per year (N4bn per month), and several groups in the Niger Delta have raised concerns about the deal.