The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has reported a total of 116 crude oil theft incidents between August 12 and 18.
The company stated this during its televised series; Energy and You airing on the NTA Network on a weekly basis.
According to the NNPCL data, 45 illicit refineries were unveiled, exposing the magnitude of these unauthorized operations.
There were 20 instances of unauthorized connections, 8 breaches of vessel AIS regulations, and 6 cases of oil spills, along with the identification of 20 wooden boats repurposed for transporting stolen crude.
The report also underscored 2 incidents of pipeline vandalism and a noteworthy count of 15 arrests related to vehicular activities connected to these illicit endeavours.
NNPCL’s communication elucidated that these incidents clustered predominantly within the geographical expanse of Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, and Delta states.
The report by NNPCL also unveils a regional distribution of these occurrences. Specifically, 8 incidents were recorded in the deep blue waters, 17 incidents emerged in the western region, 41 instances were flagged in the central region, and an additional 5 were documented in the eastern part of the Niger Delta’s oil-producing sector.
This segmentation provides a nuanced glimpse into the prevalence of these activities across diverse zones within the oil-rich terrain.
The response to the discovery of illegal pipelines has entailed comprehensive repair efforts aimed at preventing potential oil spills and forestalling further environmental damage.
The report notably highlights that some of the methods employed by crude oil thieves involved direct theft from the source, followed by the illicit supply to nearby oil pits.
These operations exhibited a startling lack of sophistication in their setup, culminating in significant environmental harm. Such instances came to light in the Ohaji/Egbema region of Imo state.
In a distinct narrative, incidents of pilfering unfolded in the Oleh and Asaba-Ase areas of Delta state, where law enforcement stumbled upon sacks of stolen crude, which were evidently destined for sale to clientele operating within the borders of Rivers and Bayelsa states.
Security operatives also found artisanal refineries in select parts of Bayelsa and Rivers states, underscoring the complex web of unauthorized operations.
Further investigations led to the discovery of a truck transporting stolen crude in Patani, Delta state, indicative of ongoing illegal activities. This was accompanied by the interception of other vehicles carrying stolen crude in disparate locations, including Imo state.
The coordinated approach to these challenges showcases a commitment to curbing environmental damage, tackling crude theft, and ensuring the integrity of the oil industry.
As the authorities remain vigilant in their endeavours, these actions collectively contribute to safeguarding both the environment and the nation’s resources.
What you should know
Despite increased efforts to curb the menace, crude oil theft is still a thriving business in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. This is negatively impacting the country’s crude oil production.
Note that TheTimes recently reported that Shell Petroleum Development Company is investigating a possible leak on its 180,000 barrels per day Trans Niger pipeline that traverses the Bodo community in Rivers state.
Salt Abimbola Essien-Nelson, a media spokesperson for Shell Nigeria said the company blames most spills on pipeline vandalism and illegal crude oil tapping.