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NNPC: Clearing pipeline corridors that carry next to nothing?

The recent announcement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the Army Engineering Corps was set to demolish illegal structures erected along the Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi oil pipeline corridor, has started to record mixed reactions from Nigerians.

Recall that in a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, the Corporation condemned what it called “flagrant and dangerous’’ violation of its pipeline right-of-way (RoW) by some individuals and communities along the corridor of the system 2E pipeline network, stretching from Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi.

But some energy expert are divided on why NNPC is more interested in clearing pipelines ROW when the pipelines had been running dry in the last couple of years due to the comatose nature of all four national refineries.

However, experts called on the new leadership of NNPC to think out of the box and start to rollout modalities to meet the promise of the new GMD, Mr Mele Kyari, who on assumption of office, assured that all the refineries will start exporting refined products by 2023.

The experts argued that it was the discovery that majority of the pipelines are no more carrying refined products that encouraged communities along the pipelines to trespass the RoW.

In the statement, Ughamadu observed that the infringement on the statutorily guaranteed 25-metre setback for the infrastructure was not only detrimental to the free flow of petroleum products, but was far more harmful to dwellers of illegal structures and shanties, due to the combustible nature of hydrocarbon.

NNPC argued further that the closeness to oil pipeline right-of-way remains one of the cheapest attractions to encroachment and incessant pipeline vandalism which boil down to oil theft and associated infernos.