The Analysis and the Prevention of the Bottleneck

These constraints may define the minimum staff from community to be employed, staff training requirements, adherence to operational safety, the environment impact assessment, environmental degradation through oil spillages,(depletion of aquatic lives) adherence to memorandum of understanding, community empowerment scheme, oil theft/sabotage, award of contract etc. These constraints and many others sometimes stand as a bottleneck in pipeline transportation of crude oil.

Transportation of crude oil through the pipelines remain one of the most economical way of moving large quantity of crude oil from one place to another, not minding the bottleneck associated with it. It is also more effective and affect lives in many ways. In swamp area of Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited, they operate three types of pipeline functions.

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(a) Gathering pipelines:- these are interconnected pipeline forming complex network with the purpose of bringing crude oil from several nearby wellheads to flow stations.

In these group, pipeline are usually short, a couple of hundred meters, with smaller diameters, example 4 inches and 6 inches respectively. (b) Transportation pipelines are mainly long pipes with longer diameter moving crude oil from flow stations to terminal mostly fourteen (14), eighteen (18), twenty four (24) inches respectively. (c) Trunk lines: These are pipelines that connect the terminal to loading bay with diameter of 36 inches. The crude oil pipelines transportation from wellheads to storage facility is associated with bottlenecks (hindrances) before getting to its final destination.

Bottleneck in crude oil transportation system in Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited is threatening the operation system in terms of cost effectiveness.

The company spends millions of dollars to prevent the bottleneck. The objective of this study is to prevent or minimize the ugly trend of bottleneck operation. The transportation of crude oil starts from the wellheads, so there are bottlenecks associated to wellhead production. These bottlenecks are as follows: i. Incompetent operators.

ii. Incessant shutting down of well heads due to sabotage and militant activities. iii.

Constant eruption of sand trap in the system. iv. Communities claim of royalties.

2. 2FLOW STATIONS Flow stations are plants whereby crude oil are processed and treated. It comprises of booster pumps, compressors, pressure tanks, valves, network of pipelines, arrival manifold, standby generators etc. These systems are associated with their problems and act as bottlenecks in transportation of crude oil. The company operates five flow stations in their swamp area operation.

The flow stations are: Tebidaba flow station, Obama flow station, Ogboingbiri flow station, Clough creek flow station and Beniboye flow station.

Such problems are: (i) Untrained staff. (ii) Militant seizures (iii) Constant shutting down due to pipeline sabotage, 2. 3PIPELINES (GATHERING, FLOW LINES, TRUNKLINE) The pipelines are of three categories and function differently but have a common goal of transporting crude oil. 2.

3aGathering pipelines: these pipelines bring crude oil from wellheads to flow stations. In swamp area Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited, the pipelines are of six and four inches respectively and they run underground. 2. 3bFlow lines: Theses are mainly transportation pipelines that run from flow stations to terminal.

They are bigger in sizes than the gathering pipelines. It also links the land area (OB/OB, Kwale gas plants) to swamp area terminal.

It is twenty four inches in diameter and a distance of ninety-nine kilometers. The distance from Obama flow stations to Brass terminal is twenty five kilometers, from Tebidaba flow station to Brass terminal is forty four kilometers and they are eighteen inches in sizes and they run underground. 2. 3cTrunk line: This is the major pipeline that links the terminal to the sea loading bay. It’s thirty six inches in size.

These pipelines have unique problems that stand as bottleneck in transportation of crude oil. These problems are: i. Sabotage/oil theft ii. Oil spillages iii. Illegal bunkering iv. Water hammer/cavitations due to turbulence flow.

v. Closure of ball valves at the risers. 2. 4TERMINAL This is where tanks of various sizes are built for installation of crude oil. There are several problems associated with the terminal.

i. Oil spillage/environmental pollution ii. Untrained manpower iii. Poor management decision iv. Communities interference.

From the analysis so far, the problems associated with transportation of crude oil from well heads to terminal are unique and required urgent solution to minimized the cost of production, and pollution of the environment 2. 4PREVENTIVE MEASURE Having analysis the problems associated with crude oil transportation, it is necessary to find the solution to the problems. 2. 4. 1WELLHEADS i. Incompetent Operators – Most operators in Swamp area operation don’t know how and when to close values in event of emergency, so they need adequate training to enhance their performance.

i. Incessant shutting down due to sabotage and militant activities: government should put in place a policy that will be favorable to the host communities to discourage them from sabotaging the well heads and adjoining pipelines to the flow stations. iii. Constant eruption of sand trap – there is constant eruption of sand trap in the well heads due to the inability of the company to install gravel pack. Gravel pack should be installed. iv.

Communities claim of royalties – Communities constantly invade wellhead and sabotage the components for their claims of royalties.

The company should endeavour to meet their own part in the memorandum of understanding. 2. 4. 2FLOW STATIONS (i) Untrained personnel – The Company should train their workers on the job. (ii) Militant seizures – The Government should create jobs for the jobless youth and formulate policies that will be favorable to the host communities.

(iii) Constant shutting down – The youth in the communities has form the habit of sabotaging the pipelines either by blasting with dynamites or using hacksaw to cut the pipelines.

Their aim is to collect money from the contractors and the company before allowing them to effect repairs. There should be a policy to effect arrest of community leaders in the event of community sabotage. 2. 4. 3PIPELINES (GATHERING, FLOWLINE, TRUNKLINE) (i) Sabotage (ii) Oil spillages (iii) Illegal bunkering (iv) Closure of ball valves at the risers.

These problems in pipelines lead to the closure of flow stations and shutting down of wellheads. Therefore government should promulgate laws that will protect the pipelines from vandals.

The company should also engage more security personnel to patrol the waterways and give them stern warning to the village heads of any community that sabotage the pipelines. 2. 4.

4TERMINALS i) Oil spillages/environmental pollution – Inexperienced and untrained manpower sometimes allow spillages in tank farm, polluting the environment. These set of staff should be given adequate training on the job. ii) Untrained manpower – They required adequate training. iii) Poor management decision – This is a serious problem in Swamp are operation.

This makes the personnel’s not to put in their best.

Incessant strike action and poor attitude to work. To solve this problem management should put in place a motivational scheme and increase workers wages. They should also stop treating contract workers as second class citizen. iv) Communities interference – The idea of awarding all the contracts to indigene (chiefs and youth leaders) should be thoroughly examine in order to minimize using sub-standard materials to execute their contract. Most of the time they will collect their monies without actually executing the contract.

To tackle this bottleneck the company should put in place a monitoring committee and inspectors to follow the 3.

0RECOMMENDATION Since transportation of crude oil through the pipelines remain one of the most economical way of moving large quantity of crude oil the following recommendation should be treated with urgency. i. There should be physical monitoring of pipelines by engaging the host communities as surveillance team and security personnel. ii. Types of technology and strategies should be implemented in form of satellite surveillance.

The most common technology is known as computational pipeline monitoring systems (C.

P. M). iii. Government should enact stringent laws to protect the pipelines from vandals.

The company should constitute a monitoring team comprises of company personnel’s and military personnel’s to patrol the waterways. iv. There should be inspectors to monitor the execution of contracts to its conclution. v. There should be gravel pack implementation to minimize damage cause by sand in well heads and pipelines.

vi. The company should adhere to the memorandum of understanding to improve the lives of the host communities. vii. There should be training for staff and contract staff to enhance productivity. iii.

There shall be conversion of experienced and qualified contract staff, instead of employing fresh hands that required much training. ix. The management should put in place motivational scheme for workers.