The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Sunday announced that the Army Engineering Corps was set to demolish illegal structures erected along the Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi oil pipeline corridor.
The NNPC condemned what it called “flagrant and dangerous’’ violation of its pipeline right-of-way by some individuals and communities along the corridor of the system 2E pipeline network, stretching from Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi.
The corporation, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said the infringement on the statutorily guaranteed 25-metre setback for the infrastructure was not only detrimental to the free flow of petroleum products, but was far more harmful to dwellers of illegal structures and shanties, due to the combustible nature of hydrocarbon.
It noted that there was inseparable link between the cases of oil pipeline right-of-way encroachment and incessant pipeline vandalism and oil theft, adding that this had negative effect on the economy.
It said the creation of the minimum 25-metre buffer for the pipeline was designed to allow for maintenance, repair and replacement of pipelines as the need may arise, while ensuring the security and safety of the facility.
The national oil firm stated that the buffer was to also ensure that those living contiguous to the lines were shielded in cases of leakage, rupture or explosion.
It noted that as a first step towards the eventual removal of such structures by the team of Army Engineering Corps, the NNPC’s downstream subsidiary, Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company, had embarked on extensive consultation and enlightenment, targeted at violators in the affected communities in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the people.
The corporation stated that based on penetrating reconnaissance executed by the army engineers stretching from Ogale-Eleme community in Port Harcourt-Aba axis to Otade community in Enugu-Makurdi, structures in violation of the pipeline safety corridor had been identified.
These structures, according to the NNPC, had also been clearly marked with notice of imminent removal served on the affected occupants.
The oil firm said the essence of the red flag was to bring urgency to the situation along the PHC-Aba-Enugu-Markurdi line, whose level of violation was about 75 per cent.
“Such incidents are not only crystal-clear cases of economic sabotage but pose unimaginable danger to the entire neighbourhood,’’ the NNPC stated.
Before now, the national oil company in concert with the corps had executed successful clearance of the system 2B pipeline right-of-way from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ibadan.