OLEF: Integrated Security Approach Needed To Curb Vandalism, Oil Theft, Sabotage -Lokpobiri

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said that cases of pipeline vandalism, oil theft, and sabotage, have caused significant threats to the sustenance of the nation’s energy infrastructure and smooth operations, therefore, called for multi-layered security approach to curb the menace.

Sen. Lokpobiri spoke on the occasion of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) OLEF 2024, with the Theme ‘Stability in the Nigerian Energy Sector: Integrated Strategies for Infrastructure, Transportation and Security’ held at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) House on Thursday in Abuja.

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Represented by the Director, Upstream, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Kamoru Busari, the Minister said, the integrated strategies for security must involve proactive measures to prevent and deter illegal activities, as well as robust response mechanisms to mitigate the impact of security incidents.

These, according to him, include “deployment of advanced surveillance technologies, strengthening collaboration between government agencies, law enforcement, and local communities.

“Addressing the underlying socio-economic drivers of insecurity, such as poverty and unemployment, is crucial to achieving lasting stability in the energy sector through the implementation of the Host Community Trust Fund, Gas Infrastructure Fund, and other intervention mechanisms.

“Concerted efforts in addressing security threats in the sector, with the awarding of surveillance contract Tantita Security Service Nigeria Limited that has culminated in a substantial increase in production”, he said.

Lokpobiri said, the Integrated strategies for infrastructure development should take advantage of the abundant fossil fuel to save against the future, while considering transitioning into other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to diversify the nation’s energy mix.

He advised that smart grid technologies and digitalization be incorporated to enhance efficiency, reliability, and resilience in energy delivery.

He noted that the government was setting the pace, as practical steps in infrastructure are being taken to increase local refining capacity by ensuring the existing refineries come on stream while ensuring that more attention is paid to modular refineries as quick wins to complement the increase in domestic refining capacity towards energy self-sufficiency.

Speaking in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Mr. Aminu Galadima said, the Fund recognizes the pivotal role the energy sector plays in the socio-economic development of the nation, and is fully dedicated to supporting initiatives that foster innovation, sustainability, and growth within the industry.

Galadima said, the theme for this year’s forum, was very apt and germane as it reflected the concerted effort to address the multifaceted challenges facing the industry from volatility in global oil prices to managing the issues of transition towards cleaner energy sources, as well as ensuring energy security for the nation, by adequately addressing the issues of infrastructure deficits, transportation bottlenecks and security challenges in the industry.

He said, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), as the capacity-building agency of the Federal Government, is committed to developing a skilled workforce that will drive the transformation of the energy sector in Nigeria.

“This is being done primarily through our established Human Capacity Development programmes, through institutional capacity building, as well as research and development activities”, he said.

Earlier, the SPE Chairman, Salahuddeen Tahir said, while progress has been made in expanding energy infrastructure and enhancing production capacities, significant challenges persist, particularly in areas such as transportation and security.

Tahir said, the theft and vandalism of pipelines, coupled with inadequate infrastructure, continue to impede the efficient transportation of energy resources, undermining the sector’s stability.

He, however, noted that technology would play a pivotal role in improving infrastructure, transportation, and security within Nigeria’s energy sector.

He said, “through the strategic deployment of IoT sensors, data analytics, and digital platforms, operations can by far be optimized, security-enhanced, and sustainability promoted.

“Moreover, fostering public-private partnerships and investing in workforce training will be crucial in ensuring the effective implementation of these technological solutions”, he said.

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