In Nigeria, gas pipelines always get bombed. The pipeplines are bombed as a political tool - militants in the Niger Delta do it so that the government will give them money to not bomb the pipelines. Some other times, the pipelines are bombed just so that the government of the day will look incompetent.
The solution of the government so far has just been to keep giving the militants money so that they will not bomb the pipelines. But is this sustainable long term? And is it right, for a nation to be hostage to an armed group? I'd say not. Pipeline bombing is a crime, and it should be punished and not rewarded.
But solving this problem is very difficult - the pipelines run through remote areas and they run for hundreds of kilometers. They are also exposed, and can be accessed by anyone along this entire stretch. So how do you prevent people from bombing the pipelines?
Here is my solution.
First of all, let's look at why the pipelines are bombed - they are bombed primarily because of the discomfort it causes the populace. Once a pipeline is bombed, power starts dropping, and at some point we don't have power anymore.
It was a bad idea to build power stations far from gas sources, but the deed is done now. So let's figure out how to fix it.
The first step is to start building power plants close to the gas sources. Where possible, power plants should be physically moved. This process will take long, so while that is on-going other solutions can be pursued.
Storage needs to built along the pipeline routes. Every few kilometers, gas is stored in storage units. That means that when the pipelines are bombed, we hopefully have enough gas in storage to last till the affected area is fixed.
An additional solution is that we need to fix our pipeline fixing capabilities. We should aim to be able to fix a spoilt pipeline in 2 to 3 days. Enough spare material to make this possible.
Additionally, we should run long wires along the pipeline with monitoring equipment. A small camera storage and person detection box could cost less than $100. If you had 1000 of them for every 100km, that's just $100k. The boxes would not stop the bombing, but it would take photos of the people bombing, which will make it easier to identify them.
While all this is being done, there should be absolutely no financial reward for pipeline bombing. It has to become dangerous and not lucrative to bomb the pipelines.
After an initial period of pain, pipeline bombing will become unprofitable, and the militants will move on to other schemes.