By Bassey Udo
Rising incidents of vandalism and theft along the key pipeline conveying refined petroleum products to Mosimi, Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin fuel depots worry the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
The Authority Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, expressed concern that the rising incidence of petroleum product theft and pipeline vandalism, especially System 2B pipeline network, which pumps petroleum products from the Atlas Cove depot in Lagos Island through the depots in Ejigbo in Lagos Mainland, to Mosimi in Ogun State, to Ibadan in Oyo State, Ore in Ondo State and Ilorin in Kwara State.
Ahmed said the series of theft and vandalism have led to huge revenue revenue losses for the government.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, last week at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Seminar in Lagos lamented over the menace of oil theft on the industry.
Komolafe said in the first quarter of 2022 alone, apart from creating a hostile environment and a huge disincentive to existing and prospective investors in the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, resulting in massive divestment by the international oil companies operating in the country, the country suffered losses valued at about $1 billion.
When the top executives of the South-West Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) the ACE of NMDPRA in Abuja, the ACE expressed concern over the impact of the rising incidents of theft and vandalism on petroleum products distribution and supply through the key pipeline system.
Farouk said the Association was a critical stakeholder in the petroleum sector and assured of the Authority’s support in their business of distributing petroleum products to all nooks and crannies in the country.
He urged IPMAN to assist in checkmating the unscrupulous acts as they have done in the past, he said the industry regulatory Authority received complaints about private petroleum products depots selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, above the approved price of N165 per litre.
He said the illegal price increment has disrupted the smooth operation of the entire fuel distribution and supply value chain, leading to higher pricing in some areas.
The NMDPRA Chief called on the Association to report any fuel depot selling products to its members above the approved ex-depot prices by the government.
The Zonal Chairman, IPMAN Southwest of IPMAN, Dele Tajudeen Lamidi, said his executive visited the Authority to seek its collaboration and support, in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021).
Lamidi also highlighted some of the problems his members were facing, including products sharing difficulties, rise in penalties, difficulties in getting tax clearance from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), high cost of doing business in the country, amongst others.
He pledged the continuous support of the Association to the Federal Government by ensuring that Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) was available at the regulated retail price of N165 per litre at retail outlets across the country.
“As far as we are concerned in the Southwest, we have gone beyond embarking on strikes. Strike is not the solution to any problem, because if there is a strike, it affects the masses and our businesses.
“We will work together with the Authority to ensure free flow of petroleum products and also make sure that products are sold at the government-regulated retail price, if we get them at the normal price”, the Zonal Chairman said.
The Authority assured the Association of its commitment to ensuring products availability and sustainability of the industry.