NNPC Needs to Adopt Smart Connected Technologies To Prevent Oil Pipeline Leakages

NNPC Needs to Adopt Smart Connected Technologies To Prevent Oil Pipeline Leakages

By Nnamdi Odumody

According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation December 2018 monthly report, Nigeria lost $295 million as a result of shut down in production linked to leaking pipelines which carry crude oil from oil wells to flow stations in the Niger Delta.

The Bonny Terminal was shut down for two days due to pipeline leakages with a loss of about 26,000 barrels per day, worth $1.4 million, while at Okoloma and Imor facilities, 16,000 barrels per day for five days were lost due to planned maintenance.

Brass Creek and Trans Ramos pipeline which had been shut down, since April 24th 2018, due to leaks in a creek flowing into Odimodi resulted in a loss of 35,000 barrels per day production into Forcados terminal.

About 2,730,000 barrels worth $156million were lost when the Akpo terminal was shut down for 26 days for full field maintenance, the Usan terminal lost 1,299,000 barrels due to north loop pigging scheduled downtime, and also maintenance activity for a period of 2-13 days.

The leakage causes water pollution

More so, 340,000 barrels worth $19million were lost on Brass terminal as Addax shut in production for four days due to operational issues while it stopped delivery into the Nigerian Agip Oil Company facility due to leakages in November. The Qua Iboe terminal witnessed a 12 day shutdown in Asabo & Ekpe field due to Distributed Control System|Electronic Safety Shutdown System (ESSDS) upgrade which caused a loss of over 568,000 barrels worth $32 million while the Abo terminal was shut down for nine days maintenance, resulting in another loss of 108,000 barrels worth $6.1 million.

The Okwuibome field at Tulja terminal was closed for the whole month of October due to flooding at Beneku flow station which resulted in a loss of 22,000 barrels per day, worth $1.2million.

The NNPC needs to adopt Smart Connected pipeline technologies such as drone monitoring, distributed acoustic sensing, robotics, blockchain and 3D printing which will help in optimization for efficient pumping activities from its oil wells to flow stations. This should be supported with predictive maintenance of pipelines in real time, monitoring equipment failure and leakages, monitoring pipe thickness, temperatures and erosion, detection of cracks in pipelines and corrosion to minimize losses which leaking pipelines cause the Nigerian economy in crude oil earnings.

This is one way it can become profitable like peers like Saudi Aramco: “No one knows how much NNPC makes but we do know that Saudi Arabia’s equivalent of NNPC, Aramco, is making real money: Arambo generated $111 billion for the kingdom in 2018!”

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