GIS for Construction and Rehabilitation of Nigerian Oil and Gas Pipeline Routes

Adewumi Rowland, MSc

The Nigerian Oil and Gas 2007

This paper will show how Geographical Information System (GIS) decision process can be use to locate oil and gas pipeline route as an elements of a sound decision making strategy. It will consider possible use by decision makers and environmental management personnel to analyse different alternative options in the selection of a cost effective and environmentally friendly pipeline routes. Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is integrated with Geographical Information System (GIS). In ArcVie w 9.1 all data are stored and the criterion values and factor map are generated for all criteria as map layers. T he criterion maps are converted into grids and mathematical processes are applied to the criteria using Pairwise Com parison Method (PCM) to calculate the weights. Composite maps are created using Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) Method. Also, this paper propose p ip eline op erators with a man agement sy stem based up on

remote satellite surveillance, and a GIS ap p lication that is cap able of minimisin g potential p ip eline damage. In addition, a GIS sy stem enables accurate feature identification and leads to reliab le h azard extraction and imp rovements in sy stem resp onse time.

“Terrorist forces have captured Warri Pipeline pump station at grid NG4545698 with the intent of creating an environmental disaster. M ission: squad will seize and a ccomplish one of the fo llowing: secure the main con trol panel; stop th e flow of o il into the pumps at the all valve con trols, and maximise damage to oil storage conta iners and p ipelines, and kidnap expatriate!. Enemy consists of a squad-sized Niger-Delta terrorist force inside the main pump station. Nigerian Navy troops consisting of one infantry squad from 2nd Battalion, 1st In fantry Regiment, 72d Sep. Infantry Brigade is ordered to minimise damage to oil storage contain ers and pipelines in the region. M ission: silence the squadsized Niger-Delta terrorist force” No, this is not a Film Review! It is though, a comment up on the manner in which our oil and gas sector might gravely deteriorate to as a result of the fruitless efforts been imp lemented to address the p roblems.
In Nigeria, conventional oil and gas pipeline route selection models are usually focued on the economic optimisation with cos minimisation being the sole objective disregarding potential t adverse environmental, physical, political and social impacts. Geographical Information System

(GIS) has been widely accepted for the exploration of oil and gas in today’s multi-billion pounds oil business, when geoscientists, engineers, and geologist look for oil they plan and implement GI S. Malczewski (1999) defines GIS a s a decision making tool using different data from various sources for route and site selection problems through spatial analysis and modelling. Much research has already been performed in GIS route selection projects for the petroleum industry. Hicken and Krumbach (1998) uses high-resolu tion remote sensing images in pipeline route design. GI S was used for the selection of best route for pipeline expansion (Montemurro and Gale, 1996). In addition, Sarkka and Esko (1999), in a pipeline route design project uses GI S for optimal routing for pipeline network. In his review, Laura (1998) states that before Oil and gas companies perform bathymetric and deep-sea surveys, they overlay informatio n about all modes of transportation network, topology, previous surveys for the area and environmental sensitive areas. All companies that drill all over the world must meet certain pre defined environmental conditions and requirement of their host countries so as to interfere with the communities fragile resources as little as possible. T his however, is less obvious based in the Nigerian context.

However, despite the need for the recogn ition of good oil and gas transp ortation and its significant contribution to our economy , the management, p lanning, construction and rehabilitation of our networks are been still marred by utilitarian and insensitive p olitical, environmental, and p hysical consideration. Daily fresh wave of attack are bein g laun ched on oil facilities in Nigeria as unidentified p eop le attacked and set fire to p etroleum pip elines and vandalise p ip eline networks. The country has thus become a scene of a series of p ip eline explosions. The massive environmental p roblems, socio-economic dislocations and loss of human liv es that accomp any every p ip eline burst in the country only further worsened the already p recarious condition of the masses as they p ollute the environment causin g irredeemab le distortions to the ecosy stem.
Pipeline disasters in the Niger Delta, like the widely televised 1998 Jesse incident, where over one thousand (1000) community folks were out-rightly incinerated alive in a pipeline products explosion calls for a multicriteria decision consideration in providing a sustainable solution. “In July 2000, a pipeline explosion outside the city of Warri caused the death of 250 people. An explosion in Lagos in Decem ber 2000 killed at least 60 people. Recently, no fewer than 40 residents were also injured and many more fainted after an oil pipeline busted in Oke-Odo area of

Lagos on Monday 3 rd April 2006. The situation left the environment filled with heavy toxic smell and gas. Soil erosion of pipeline route, direct vandalisation of pipeline and negligence have been controversially reported as the primary cause (Yakubu et al., 2006).


The aim of this project is to locate the best pipeline routes using GI S multi-criteria decisionmaking process by considering basic, physical, environmental, political and economic constraints for volatile oil and gas producing region of the country. The overall objectives of this project are as follows:

(i) (ii) (iii)

Evaluate the environ mental, economic, p hysical, p olitical and basic factors of locatin g p ip eline route using GIS multi-criteria decision analy sis To use GIS sp atial decision-thinkin g p rocess to model alternatives pip eline routes for selected op timum routes on a network. To develop a decision supp ort sy stem by evaluating contributions and op inion collected and collated from individual and p olicy makers usin g questionnaire. To carry out a condition survey of the p ip eline routes and a comp rehensive route evaluation of the p ip elines using a GIS database To identify and map failures and p rep are engineering design and details for the pip e reconstruction, strengthening and p rotection.

(iv) (v)

Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is integrated with Geographical Information System (GIS). Primary survey was implemented using questionnaires to secure the participation of the civil society for the development of weight to prioritise the criteria. Policy maker’s opinion on pipeline development in their region and identification of preferred criteria for pipeline networks and facility were sourced..

Figure 1: Multi-Criteria Decision-T hinking Process in Route Selection

Landsat satellite imagery, land use cover maps, roads, oil field, railways ArcGIS shape files were obtained and prepared in a GIS ready format and used as input into the GIS geodatabase. Banai et al. [9] site-suitability problem evaluation using pairwise comparison method was adopted in the analysis for this study. The criteria for the project were assesse d for relative importance considering this method. T wo major steps were adopted, generating pairwise and computing criterion weights [5]. In summary, consideratio ns adopted in this research to route the most optimum route are: (1) Distance from urban areas, and (2) distance from ecological and coastal erosion prone areas, (3) distance from airports, (4) distance from reserves and regional recreation lands of the Niger Delta, (5) distance from political and resistive -zones, and (6) distance from railways, (7) distance from road, and (8) proximity to existing exploration and refining companies. T he first seven criteria are to be maximised. That is, the farther the route from each of this criterion the better. The las one is t minimisation that requires the pipeline route to be closer to these criteria. Each of the above criterions is represented as a map layer or criterion m ap (T able-3). Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was applied in choosing optimal weights for the criteria. This enables criteria alternatives to be compared. In ArcView 9.1 software, all data are stored and the criterion values and factor map are generated for all criteria as map layers. The criterion maps are converted into grids and mathematical processes are applied to the criteria using Pairwise Comparison Method (PCM) to calculate the weights. Composite maps are created using Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) Method. A suitability map was thus generated pipeline routes. Specific to the study area, political and environmental constraints are of the most utmost consideration in locating oil and gas pipeline.

Therefore, it was considered that distance from towns/cities is “moderate to strong importance” preferred over distance to airports; hence the comparison results in a value of 4 (Table-1). Furthermore, knowing that distance from towns/cities is “equal to m oderate im portance” to distance from railway lines, and then from Table-1 above, this equals a numeric score of 2. Thereafter, assuming that same distance from towns/cities is of “ strong importance” compared to proxim ity to refineries, this equals 5 in the numeric scale. Same scenarios are recorded for all the criteria (Table-1). Remain ing entries are computed and entered correspondingly.

Figure 2: Weight comparison chart, showing scale of priority

Using Malczewiski’s [5] concept, this step involv es, (a) summing values in each column of the matrix; (b) divide each element in the matrix by its column total; and (c) calculating the average of all elements in each row of “ (b)” above, and dividing the sum scores for each row by 9- the numbers of criteria (T able-1 and T able-3).

Inadequate regular maintenance of the o il and gas pip elines have resulted in enormous lost of thousands of barrels of oil. Most p ipelines presently running in the country are obsolete, some of which are over 25 y ears old, making them subject to corrosion and leakage. In addition, pip elines are laid above ground level without adequate routine insp ection and sup ervision. This p rocedure allows for encroachment into the right-of-way of the pip elines and inevitable exp osure to wear-and-tear (Oyem, 2001). Petroterrorism in form of saboteurs, vandals, aggrieve-p oliticians, and un emp loy ment are major cause of oil and gas sp illage fro m pip eline routes in the country. Oil and gas

pip eline are deliberately damaged and ruined to settle p olitical and economic differen ce, while p irates steals the oil sell it illegally on the national and international black mark et. This illegal siphoning as resulted in a nu mber of catastrophic oil pip eline exp losions in the country . The recent been the Lagos p ip eline exp losion where about 700 p eop le (rep orted, unreported and the missing), includin g a baby believ ed to be two months old, were roasted to death in a p ipeline fire on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway . The NNPC rep orted over 2000 cases of pip eline vandalization in 2005 alone as against mere 800 cases five y ears ago. Nigeria lost about N43 billion in 2005 as a result of vandalisation of pip elines carry ing p etroleum products. The most common measure against this form of petroterrorism is by observing the pip eline by either walkin g along the routes and by usin g helicop ters guid ed by electronic map s (GIS) and satellite navigation (GPS) for the p ip eline network. Whilst in few cases, digital pictures or videos are taken. One of the most efficient way s forward is the development and design of p ipeway-system. Oil and gas p ipeline routes criss-crossing the entire country could be monitored for adequate emergency resp onse and rehabilitation using h igh-resolution satellite images, GPS and GIS technolo gy . High resolution satellite images should be acqu ired for the oil and gas p ip elines network for rehabilitation. Images are orthorectified and used in determinin g horizontal alignment of the existing p ipelines. Digital Elevation M odels (DEM ) should be first develop ed and high resolution images orthorectified usin g the DEM and ground control p oints collected by GPS. A typ ical rehabilitation pip eline p roject will involved build in g a GIS database for all related pip eline facilities and infrastructure alon g a typ ical route. Buildin gs and adjo inin g pip eline furnitures can digitized from high-resolution satellite images and a geocodin g system developed. CONSTRUCTION OF OIL AND GAS PIPELIN ES AVOID VANDALIS ATION The steel used in the construction of p ip elines should be thick above the minimum requirements as sp ecified by accep table codes in Nigeria, so a very large exp losion will be required to puncture p ip elines. M aintenance culture in Nigeria is alway s inadequate. It is a sy stem of Built-Operate-Bu ild (BOB). Therefore, corrosion risk should be addressed

by the app lication of extra thick multi-lay er coating sy stem bonded to the steel p ip e and design to an operating life of abov e 50 y ears. In addition, cathodic p rotection sy stem to prevent corrosion from small coatin g defects; and regular insp ection by an instrument call “intelligent pig,” which p asses through the pip eline and measures wall thickness should be p roperly enforced. Pip elines should be simp ly designed, op erated and maintained to the highest current international standards. These measures though slightly expensive above normal practice will mitigate any risk of p ipeline failure from the most common sources of damage, external interference, and corrosion.


The govern ment, educational institutions, individuals and the private sector need to communicate and develop better oil and gas services using the p ower that lies within the GIS “magic” and technolo gy . The reliance on information and data analy sis cap ability of GIS are immeasurable and beneficial in term of its sp atial and modellin g contents. . GIS design procedures, if imp lemented as p art of a master p lan for the o il and gas pip eline routes will limits chaotic lo cation and selection. This is inevitable, considerin g that the oil and gas industry is the backbone of the Nigerian econo my , accounting for over 90% of total foreign exchan ge revenue for now (NDDC, 2004). It is no news that the 1:50,000 top ograp hic map s of Nigeria are quite o ld and some of the data contained in these map s are obsolete and some incorrect. These map s of Nigeria date back to the 1960s and were main ly based on aerial p hotograp hs taken in 1963. Clearly , huge extent of dev elop ment and urbanization has taken place. Developmental use of these map s will therefore y ield inaccurate data. 1m and 2m resolution images are technically more useful for the up dating of 1:10,000 map s. If NIGERIASAT-1 were of high-resolution satellite ortho-imagery, it would have been more economical and faster to imp lement any up dating of the 1:50,000 topograp hic map s. Nigeria does not have any 1:25,000 top ograp hic map s, y et NIGERIASAT-1 has no usefulness in achiev in g this task.
Oyem, A., 2001. Christian call for Action on Nigerian Oil Spill. Sage-Oxford’s Christian Environmental Group

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