The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has said that award of pipeline surveillance contract to individuals is a waste of resources because the initiative has not achieved any result.
The association said it believed in shared responsibility where all stakeholders in the oil and gas industry are provided opportunity to offer assistance that will deal with incidents of vandalisation and oil theft.
The National Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Mr Oluwaseyi Gambo, who made the call in Lagos, advised the federal government to upgrade the nation’s security system to support ongoing effort that aims at crippling activities of vandals and oil thieves.
He also suggested that states and local governments whose budgets are largely tied to federal allocations and statutory disbursements should play active roles.
Gambo maintained that oil theft and illegal bunkering required multifaceted approach that takes into consideration all stakeholders and government at all levels.
He stated, “It is a fight that should be elevated beyond the present practise of award of pipelines surveillance contracts to selected individuals which has not worked, but only increased the loss.”
Gambo also urged the federal government to take the battle through diplomatic means, adding that “Government should discourage demand for stolen crude oil and associated products by foreign buyers who are willing collaborators in the illegal crude oil theft on Nigerian shores.”
He called for technology-driven and robust surveillance system to protect the pipelines and other key installations.
Gambo said that oil theft posed great challenge to the nation’s economy and the safety of the environment, adding that the country was also suffering revenue losses pointing out, “Preventing such a huge loss can really help to minimise the recurring deficits in the federal budgets.
He added, “Government should initiate a robust surveillance scheme through the deployment of modern scientific radar at the country’s coastal terminals.
“Pipeline vandalism and the attendant crude oil and theft of petroleum products constitute not just a drain to the nation’s resources, but a major hazard to the environment.”
He advised various oil companies in the country to invest in modern technology to reduce the incidence of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.