By Thompson ABISOLA
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) on Thursday listed pipeline vandalism and encroachment into the oil firms pipelines’ right of way as major challenges confronting the company.
An official of SPDC in charge of pipelines network, Mr Jack Mkpaka, said this at an advocacy workshop for journalists on Thursday in Yenagoa.
Mkpaka solicited support of stakeholder to address the nagging obstacles.
He noted that the oil firm lost some 9,212 barrels of crude oil to oil thieves daily in 2017 despite joint efforts with security agencies to combat the menace.
He said that Shell was constantly working to reduce loss of oil and reviewing its surveillance contract model.
According to him, this review involved members of its host community, rather than awarding such contracts to companies nominated by the community.
Mkpaka noted that safeguarding the pipeline network operated by SPDC was an enormous task that required the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including government, host community and the media.
He said that oil pipelines were classified as critical national assets, given the reliance on oil revenue to drive government spending.
Speaking earlier, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, SPDC Media Relations Manager, noted that the company has transformed into an integrated energy firm by harnessing gas resources for power generation.
He said further that Shell companies accounted for 15 per cent of power generation in the country in the past one year.
On gas flaring in the Niger Delta, Odugbesan noted that some levels of gas flare was required to stabilise production pressure.
He added that the company had put in place facilities to gather both associated and non associated gas for export and domestic markets.
“We have an equity interest of 25.6 per cent in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) which processes gas principally for export and domestic use.
“That is why Shell always produces the Managing Directors for the LNG,” Odugbesan said.
In his presentation, Leader, Encroachment Management Team at SPDC, Mr Ucheoma Amaechi, said that although encroachment on Pipeline Right of Way was unlawful, the practice had persisted with buildings and other commercial activities going on, too close the pipelines.
He explained that the 1990 pipelines Act prohibits any activity 100 feet or 30 metres on both sides of the pipelines.
He said that encroachment to the pipelines right of way was unsafe and exposes the public to danger and loss of property to fire during explosions.
He added that the extra spaces provided, was to pave way for heavy equipment to service the pipelines for routine and emergency purposes.
He expressed regret that rescue efforts were hampered during emergency situations where the pipeline right of way was encroached thus worsening the casualty rate.
He said that the company secured its facilities and pipelines by building perimeter fences, erecting signs surveillance.
He said further that the company engaged in sensitization campaigns to spotlight the dangers associated with encroachment on oil as gas facilities right of way.
Mrs Timi Akenge, of the Community Health department of SPDC, said pipeline vandalisation had its health implications.
She said that the resulting spills from sabotaged pipelines polluted the waters and wiped off the aquatic life, including fish and other sea foods.
She said that oil pollution was a major threat to public health and urged residents in the oil communities to support the oil firm to check vandalism.
Akenge noted that SPDC had invested massively in the upgrade of the Kolo General Hospital in Ogbia in Bayelsa.
She said that this upgraded Oloibiri Health Project would commemorate the first commercial oil find in Oloibiri by the company in 1956, in Bayelsa.
She said that under the Oloibiri Health Project, residents would be provided with a community health insurance cover, at a cost of N10,000 annually.
“It would enable them to access world class health services at no extra cost to the patient