Security agents comprising of a coalition of Tantita Security Services, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) carried out an operation on September 21 following some intelligence about vandals at the Amuekpe-Escravos Pipeline in Mereje, Delta State and discovered a 4-inch illegal connection implanted on a 32-inch Amuekpe-Escravos pipeline running across a body of water to an illegal refinery.
This is according to a report released on Tuesday, September 26 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
The report cited a concerning surge in crude oil theft incidents, totalling 195 occurrences, within the country’s oil-producing areas from September 16 to 25, 2023.
This disclosure was made through the company’s weekly series, “Energy and You,” broadcasted on the NTA News Network.
During the discovery of the illegal line on the Amuekpe-Escravos pipeline, one of the Tantita security agents on site said:
- “Just a few days ago, we came up with the intel that they discovered the place, what we discovered here is amazing, you can see the illegal connection which is running through all the way down to their illegal refinery. So, we are following this up for the relevant authorities to act immediately and remove this illegal connection. The Nigerian Military is also here with us as well as the Civil Defense, we are working together on this operation.”
The report underscored the collaborative efforts between NNPCL and the country’s security forces, encompassing both official entities and third-party affiliates, in curbing these illicit activities. Remarkably, their coordinated actions successfully thwarted 195 instances of crude oil theft within a week.
The report provided a detailed breakdown of the incidents during this specified period.
Notably, there were 40 cases of illegal connections, 78 cases involving illegal refineries engaged in processing stolen crude, 20 cases of pipeline vandalism, and 8 identified storage sites for stolen crude.
Furthermore, the joint operation led to the apprehension of 34 wooden boats used for the transportation of stolen crude, along with the detection of 5 cases of vessel AIS infractions.
Additionally, law enforcement made 9 vehicle arrests, meanwhile, an environmental concern was the discovery of an oil spill site.
According to the NNPCL report, on September 21, Note that there were other crude theft sites found in Delta State (Obodo Omadino, Sapele, Warri, Ughelli, Ndokwa West, Kwale) as well.
The report also stated that other locations where illegal activities thrived during the specified week were Rivers (Ebocha), Imo (Ohaji-Egbema) and Bayelsa (Ogbia) States.
What you should know
The Nigerian Extractives Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has advised the Federal Government to prioritize enhanced pipeline security surveillance through the utilization of advanced technologies such as satellite imagery and sophisticated ICT tools.
This approach will enable real-time monitoring and prompt intervention in cases of pipeline vandalism.
Additionally, NEITI recommends that collaboration between companies and the Federal Government is crucial for implementing the fiscal provisions outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that cater to the welfare of Host Communities. This step will bolster communal responsibility and ownership of crude oil pipelines.