The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, urges the federal government to reposition the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company to end fuel supply problems
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun 1, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, is advocating for the repositioning of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC. The repositioning of PPMC would end the intractable and inefficiency in the distribution and supply of petroleum products across the country.
According to the union, if the challenges confronting the operations of the PPMC are not resolved, it would be difficult for petroleum products to be available in all parts of the country and at relatively the same prices. The trade union noted that the PPMC is not only crucial to the distribution of refined petroleum products but also to efficient and effective performance of the refineries as it supplies crude oil, which is the feedstock for refineries’ operations.
PENGASSAN argued that if the PPMC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was repositioned and the pipelines are functioning as supposed to be, there would be more jobs and pressure on Nigerian roads which would reduce. PPMC has depots in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, Aba, Gombe, Yola Ibadan, Ilorin, Makurdi and other major states’ capitals throughout the federation.
Some of the challenges hampering the effective and efficient operations of the PPMC listed by PENGASSAN include insecurity of pipelines and staff of the company, inadequate funding, ageing equipment, supply of substandard operational equipment, shortage of manpower, irregular capacity building for existing staff of the company and lack of reliable fire trucks and good safety standards.
PENGASSAN noted that the greatest challenge confronting the PPMC is vandalism of pipelines by criminals and economic saboteurs. Explaining the implications of the challenge, PENGASSAN said: “The negative impacts of the pipeline vandalism on the nation’s economy and the oil and gas industry are enormous. Such include non-functionality of existing refineries, increased operational cost, job losses, reduction in investments in the downstream sub sector and inability to attract new investment, and inadequate supply/availability of refined petroleum products in other parts of the country.
“The efficiency and functionality of the nation’s refineries are continuously frustrated by inadequate crude oil supply which is as a result of vandalisation of pipelines that supply crude to the refineries. The refineries are continuously starved of crude oil supply with possibility of forcing a shut down. The inadequate availability and scarcity of refined products across the country can also be attributed to pipeline vandalisation, as distributions of petroleum products which are supposed to run through pipes to various parts of the country are vandalised.
“Both the crude and refined products are piped through the pipeline manage by the PPMC. If the pipelines are effectively policed and secured, there will be regular supply of crude to the refineries and those imported and stored in tank farms to be piped to depots across the country for effective distribution to engender adequate availability of the products.”
The trade union also noted that many of its members were attacked and killed by the vandals in line of duties to fix and repair pipelines broken and damaged by the vandals. While demanding that the government should evolve the political will to deal with pipeline vandalisation by using modern technology to secure the pipelines, PENGASSAN called for overhauling of the security agencies that are in charge of providing security for the pipelines, as it accused some of the officers of connivance with the vandals.
PENGASSAN bemoaned the inadequate funding of PPMC, adding that most of the company’s equipment are ageing and are in bad shape. “The equipments are ageing as some of them that have lifespan of 15 years are over 35 years old and are not well maintained. Even when maintenances were to be carried out, we discovered that contractors usually supplied substandard materials for the repair and maintenance. Some of the ageing equipments are fire trucks, which are as old as 40 to 45 years. There is need for the government to purchase new fire trucks to combat any fire incident on the pipelines”, the group added.