IOCs, security agencies at odds over use of drones to monitor pipelines

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The plan by stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry to find lasting solutions to the menace of pipeline vandalism may have run into a hitch as security agencies and the international oil companies (IOCs) cannot agree on the method to be adopted, Vanguard reports.

While the IOCs favour the use of drones and other high technology devices to monitor oil facilities, security agencies, such as the military and State Security Services (SSS) are opposed to that, citing security concerns. The Navy and other security agencies have cautioned against the use of drones and remotely operated area vehicles (ROAV). The security agents were said to have insisted on the need to guard against allowing the technology to slip into the hands of terrorists, militants and kidnappers, who they fear, could use the technology to undermine the precarious security of the country.

According to an official of one of the IOCs who preferred to be anonymous, it is very expensive to use helicopter to monitor oil installations in Nigeria. He stated: “Helicopter is more expensive. Oil majors are not finding it funny, cost wise to deploy helicopter, especially this period that oil price is low. That is why we are talking about drones. Moreover, a drone can be deployed both at night and day, but helicopter is used only during the day.”