ABUJA (AFP) – Nigeria has shut down three of its four refineries because of sabotage of pipelines leading to them, the state oil firm said Wednesday, calling on the military to increase security.
Nigerian National Petroleum Company head Austen Oniwon discussed the issue when he met with the army chief of staff on Tuesday, a statement from the firm said.
“He implored the chief of army staff to particularly deploy his men to step up surveillance on the crude pipeline from Bonny to Port Harcourt refinery and the Escravos pipeline to Warri and Kaduna …,” the statement said.
It added that Oniwon said “the refineries have been shut down temporarily because all the aforementioned pipelines have been severed.”
The statement did not provide further details, including how long the refineries had been shut.
Despite its oil wealth, Nigeria imports a large amount of its petroleum products because its four refineries do not function at capacity even when they are operating.
The poor condition of the refineries has been blamed on factors including mismanagement and corruption.
Pipeline sabotage occurs for a number of reasons, including by militants who claim to be seeking a fairer distribution of oil revenue and oil thieves who deal on the black market.