PIPELINE TRANSPORTATION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO THE MARKETING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS IN SOUTH EAST, NIGERIA
This study was carried out on the significance of pipeline transportation mode on the marketing of petroleum products in Nigeria. It was premised on the notion of the scarcity of refined petroleum products across the country in spite of the agitated advantages that pipeline transport mode is said to have over some other alternative transport modes considering the nature of product involved. Other observed problems that prompted the carrying out of this study include: pipeline vandalization, aging pipelines and the ulterior motives of the management of pipeline and products marketing company (PPMC) regarding the volume of petroleum products moved to the various depots (regions) of the country. A number of specific objectives sought to be achieved in the study included: (i) determine the effect of the use of pipeline transport mode on the availability of petroleum products in South East, Nigeria; (ii) identify the major challenges confronting pipeline transportation of petroleum products; (iii) determine the relative effect of pipeline vandalization; capacity underutilization; and PPMC management ulterior motive; on the scarcity of petroleum products in South-East Nigeria; and (iv) determine the strategies for effective management of petroleum products pipeline transportation operation in southeast Nigeria. A cross sectional survey design method was adopted. A random sample of 217 (106 from Enugu and 111 from Aba) staff of the Aba and Enugu NNPC Depots, determined by using Taro Yamane’s sample size determination formula, were covered in the research survey. Hypotheses were tested by using: (i) Spearman’s Ranked Correlation (rho) and t-Test for the first hypothesis; (ii) Univariate Chi-square (X2) for hypothesis two; (iii) Multiple Regression Analysis for hypothesis three; and (iv) Kolmogorov Z-Test for the fourth hypothesis. The findings of the study revealed that: Pipeline transportation mode has significant (tcal = 29.04, tcal = 28.33 > ttab = 1.984) suitable effect on the availability of petroleum products in southeast Nigeria; (ii) Small pipeline diameter and pipeline vandalisation arre the significant (X2 = 68.105, X2 = 11.488, p < 0.05) major challenge confronting petroleum products transportation; (iii) Pipeline vandalization, capacity underutilisation and PPMC management ulterior motive have significant (F(3, 205) = 323.004, p < 0.05) relative effect on the scarcity of petroleum products; and finally; (iv) Replacing the petroleum product pipelines with the ones with wider diameter and controlling the transportation operations remotely are effective strategies (Z = 4.028, p < 0.05) for aiding management of petroleum products pipeline transportation in southeast Nigeria. Based on the findings and the set main objective of the study, it was concluded that pipeline transport mode remains the most suitable means of transporting petroleum products not only because it is fast but because it can deliver much barrels of petroleum products than trucks/tankers can and also, it is safer. It was however recommended that, petroleum pipeline transportation operations should be remotely controlled from the pump stations so that if there is any disruption in the operation, it would be identified on time before it causes any fire outbreak; also, security guards should be deployed to areas particularly the networks through which the pipelines are laid so that any attempt of vandalisation would be combated out; pipelines should be replaced with wider diameter ones so that they can transport more barrels and quicker than before; the needs of Nigerian petroleum product consumers should be made preclude the oil industry’s operation particularly in the production and volume of barrels supplied just as it is in developed countries. Finally therefore, it was recommended that the monopoly of PPMC should be diffused with many private pipeline operators so that their ulterior motive will no longer have effect on the supply of petroleum products.