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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 squad-
sized 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 cost minimisation being the sole objective disregarding potential
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-resolution 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 decision-
making 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) 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

(ii) To use GIS sp atial decision-thinkin g p rocess to model alternatives

pip eline routes for selected op timum routes on a network.

(iii) 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

(iv) 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
(v) To identify and map failures and p rep are engineering design and details
for the pip e reconstruction, strengthening and p rotection.

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 last one is
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.


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