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Vanguard (Nigeria): NNPC, JV partners plot improved security in Niger Delta: Tuesday 27 December 2005


By Hector Igbikiowubo


Posted to the Web: Tuesday, December 27, 2005


NIGERIAN National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its joint venture partners have concluded arrangements to boost security surveillance in the Niger Delta with the provision of materials for the various security agencies responsible for maintaining peace in the area.


While speaking in Lagos at the weekend, Dr. Funsho Kupolokun, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC said the corporation had bought flat-bottom barges for the Nigerian Navy to assist the force in tackling criminal activities in the Niger Delta including illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism.


Kupolokun disclosed that the efforts of the Navy has helped in reducing the incidence of crude oil theft from the 100,000 barrels per day (b/d)  in 2003 to 30,000 b/d currently.


Similarly, the NNPC boss disclosed that crude deferment has declined to 140,000 b/d from over 300,000 b/d within the same period.


“Significant improvements have been made in the area of security in the Niger Delta. This is as a result of a number of interventions, namely the (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) EFCC and the Navy. They have been wonderful and of course the industry and the NNPC has been playing their own part.


“NNPC had to buy flat-bottom barges for the Navy and they have been deployed. As a result we are seeing significant improvements. We are encouraged to do more and this year we are going to deliver more to the police, the EFCC and SSS and the Navy to help them to help us,” he said.


However, investigations revealed that just as the police, the Navy, the joint task force operating in the area and the EFCC have improved upon strategies aimed at securing the area, so have those intent on causing grief redoubled their efforts too.


Only last week a 24" pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), conveying crude oil to Bonny Oil Terminal through the Ogoni area was blown up with a substance suspected to be dynamite.


Almost simultaneously a petroleum products pipeline in the Warri area operated by the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC was also vandalised by suspected thieves, calling to question the degree of security in the Niger Delta area.


Royal Dutch Shell PLC has disclosed that it has signed a deal with Qatar Petroleum to tap into the huge natural gas fields in the Persian Gulf, and is acquiring more pipeline capacity in the United States to channel the gas to the U.S. market.


The Shell promoted Qatargas 4 project will produce 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from Qatar’s North Field over the next 25 years, Shell said. The project includes a liquefaction plant and shipping capability.  The project will be 70 percent owned by Qatar Petroleum and 30 percent by Shell. Most of the liquid natural gas will be delivered to North America, beginning around the end of the decade, the company said.


Exxon Mobil Corporation and the French energy company Total SA were earlier investors in the development of Qatar’s natural gas reserves, among the world’s largest. 


At the other end, Shell also announced an agreement with a subsidiary of El Paso Corp. to acquire more capacity at the Elba Island LNG terminal in Georgia.  It also reached agreement with another El Paso Corp. subsidiary, Elba Express Pipeline Company LLC, to acquire capacity in a new natural gas pipeline.  Both projects will be filed with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval in the third quarter of 2006, Shell said.  “The project will contribute to Shell’s goal of growing our natural gas production and reserves position, as well as to increased security and diversity of natural gas supply to North America,” Linda Cook, Shell’s executive director of gas and power, was quoted by the company as saying in Doha, where the contract was signed. 


Shell, the world’s third-largest publicly traded oil company, has been under investor pressure to explore new resources after disclosing in 2004 that it had overstated its proven reserves of oil and gas.  Shell said its 2004 gas sales were around 10.2 million tons from projects in Nigeria, Malaysia, Brunei, Oman and Australia, and the addition of Qatargas 4 would help the company double its gas capacity by the end of the decade. 


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