Foreign and indigenous firms operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry will have to install electronic surveillance gadgets on their facilities in a bid to curb the vandalism of oil installations across the country.
This was one of the highlights of conclusions at a two-day stakeholdersâ€™ consultation on the draft National Gas Policy and National Oil Policy, which ended in Abuja on Tuesday.
Giving an overview of the NOP, the Senior Technical Adviser on Upstream and Gas to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, stated that it was important for companies to start putting in place oil field security systems.
Adeniji, while explaining the difference between the draft NOP and the bill before the National Assembly, stated that the vandalism of pipelines had severely impacted the sector negatively.
The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, recently stated that the country had witnessed about 1,000 cases of pipeline vandalism since the beginning of this year, a development that he noted had dragged down crude oil.
The NNPC, in its latest financial and operations report, also stated that in July and August this year, the country recorded 311 and 221 cases of vandalism of oil pipelines, respectively.
Speaking on oil field security as contained in the draft NOP, Adeniji said, â€œOil companies are to be charged with electronic surveillance. The time is overdue for Nigeria to build a digital oil field.â€
He noted that in a few daysâ€™ time, the final policy document would be ready and when approved, the NOP would be binding on all players in the oil and gas sector.
He added that the NGP and NOP would be transparent and ensure that things were done properly.
Adeniji stated that the policy would also ensure that Nigeria gets a proper metering system that would eradicate oil theft in the industry.
He said the restructuring of the NNPC, as contained in the draft document, would guarantee the clarity required for the disbursements that must be made into the Federation Account, adding that it would avoid subsidies being constrained financially and stop overlapping roles with regulatory agencies.
Chairing the panel discussion, Tim Okon, an industry expert, stated that Nigeria should be moving away from crude oil production and export to production and processing.
Another panellist, Mr. Isa Baba, said the policy should support the deregulation of pipelines, stressing that the vandalism of oil installations was becoming alarming despite the ongoing negotiations between the government and agitators in the Niger Delta.
He said, â€œIt is sad that vandalism is this much in Nigeria today. We should deregulate the pipelines and either make the security of the facilities the responsibility of host communities or some particular security outfits,â€ he said.