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allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Shell Raises Alarm Over Vandalised Pipelines

Nigeria: Shell Raises Alarm Over Vandalised Pipelines

This Day (Lagos)

April 24, 2006
Posted to the web April 24, 2006

Segun James
Warri

Despite Federal Government’s unrelenting war against the vandalisation of petroleum pipelines, dare-devil vandals operating along the creeks of the Niger Delta continued to wreak havoc on the nation’s oil facilities, a situation which has forced the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to raise an alarm over the imminent fire out break as vandals broke into its condensate line.

The apparent sophistication of the break into the pipeline and operation of the vandals forced Governor James Ibori who was represented on the trip to the vandalized area by the Commissioner for Inter-Ethnic Relations and Conflict Resolution, Mr. Ovuzourie Macaulay to suggest insider collusion in the illegal act.

Conducting the governor round, Shell’s acting External Affairs Manager, Western Division, Chief Charles Akeni lamented that the vandals operating with ocean going barges “hot tap” into the company’s condensate line flowing from the Utorogun Gas plant to the Ughelli Quality Control Center (UQCC) at points located at Utorogun, Otu-Jeremi, Utowhre and Iwhrekan and attach valves which are connected to hoses and drawn several hundred metres to the bank of the creek before being siphoned into the barges.

The governor was shocked when he found at one location a “bridge” built by the vandals to serve as risers for the hose used in the operation.

The Macaulay’s team was accompanied by a contingent of soldiers led by the Commanding Officer of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Effurun, Lt. Col. Jalingo as the vandals were said to be operating with their own army and were alleged to have confronted and forced unarmed Shell security operatives to flee severally.

Briefing the team about their problem, Shell’s spokesman, Chief Akeni said that following the unending vandalisation of the pipeline, the company decided to award the contract for the protection and surveillance of the pipeline to the communities, hoping this would discourage the vandals, instead the situation become worse.

“The greatest threat the company is facing now “Akeni lamented, is the condensate, a by-product of gas, which behaves like Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol, highly inflammable.

Besides, located nearby is the multi-million dollar Utorogu Gas Plant from where the condensate comes from.

“We are very disturbed by these criminal acts and the fact that condensate in jerry cans is being retailed at PTI junction in Effurun and other areas”.

He stressed that “these criminal acts of condensate stealing if left unchecked can result in very grave consequence such as explosions and massive fire outbreaks leading to loss of lives, property and serious damage to the environment”.

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He said the situation is made worse because soon after the vandals have moved out under the cover of darkness, the natives move in during the day to sloop for the leftover condensate.

He lamented hundreds of villagers have been scooping the product, for some time now, not only polluting the environment in the process, but also, increasing the possibility of a five out – break.

Responding, Macaulay, said that the state government might recommend for a permanent team of soldiers and Navy men to Patrol the creek round the clock as one of the solutions to the problem.


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