NAN reports that apart from increased preparations on land against pipeline vandals, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has met with Shell companies in Nigeria to strategies on the protection of oil installations, including deployment and use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The Air Force said it was ready to partner with Shell to deploy the drones to help secure the companies’ oil and gas pipelines. The NAF said it would deploy the drones to other critical oil installations in the Niger Delta.
A statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, announced this in Abuja.
It said the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed when Mr Osagie Okunbor, the Managing Director and Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, visited him on Friday.
Abubakar in the statement said this was to ensure that the maritime domain was safe for social and economic activities by preventing oil theft, pipeline vandalism and militancy.
The air chief said it was also to prevent kidnapping and other forms of economic sabotage “thereby helping to sustain the economic lifeline of Nigeria”.
He noted that the NAF, over the years, had been actively involved in the security of oil pipelines, protection of critical national assets and general safety of the maritime environment.
According to him, the recent development of the capability to produce UAVs had enabled the NAF to induct an operational drone named TSAIGUMI.
He said that the newly inducted UAV, with day and night capability, had an operational endurance in excess of 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km.
“The TSAIGUMI could also be used for policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline and power line monitoring as well as mapping and border patrol duties,” Abubakar said.
“Accordingly, the Service would be willing to send experts to Shell to make presentation on the capabilities of the TSAIGUMI UAV.
The Service will also explore mutually beneficial ways to better secure Shell facilities while further developing the NAF’s UAV capability,” he said
Okunbor thanked the NAF for its continuous support, which had spanned many decades.
He said the efforts of the NAF and other security agencies made the continuous existence of peace and investment friendly environment possible in the Southern part of Nigeria.
He noted that the deployment of UAVs by the NAF would further help to secure oil facilities and other crucial economic assets in the area.
Okunbor expressed gratitude to Abubakar for granting him audience and for the readiness of NAF to continue providing security to ensure the sustenance of economic activities in the Niger Delta, in particular and Nigeria in general.