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Spike in crude oil theft as NNPCL records 170 incidents in one week

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recently reported a concerning surge in crude oil theft within a week, spanning from September 23 to 29, primarily in the oil-producing region of the Niger Delta.

This revelation was part of the company’s informative weekly series, “Energy and You,” broadcasted through the NTA Network News.

During these seven days, a distressing tally of 170 recorded cases of crude oil theft emerged, reflecting a dire situation.

The report outlined a disturbing breakdown of the incidents, including 40 illegal connections, 52 illegal refineries, 15 acts of pipeline vandalism, 38 illegal storage sites, 10 wooden boat arrests, 8 vessel AIS infractions, 5 vehicle arrests, and 2 oil spill sites.

In a disconcerting development on October 1, 2023, a new level of sophistication in crude oil theft was uncovered in Delta State.

Tantita Security Services made a startling discovery of a fully operational tissue paper manufacturing plant clandestinely powered by an illegal refinery concealed within a warehouse.

Furthermore, they unearthed sacks containing stolen crude, and it was revealed that vehicles with sufficient capacity to transport 50 bags of crude oil were involved in supplying stolen crude to this facility.

The stolen crude was ingeniously converted into diesel, fueling the boilers necessary for generating heat to dry crushed recycled paper into tissue paper.

The report also sheds light on the prevalence of illegal refineries across various local government areas, spanning Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Imo, Abia, and Delta States. Disturbingly, 13 of these crude oil theft incidents were recorded in the deep blue waters, 45 in the western region, 62 in the central region, and a significant 50 in the western region, painting a dire picture of the widespread issue at hand.

Crude oil theft is impacting crude oil production in the country, also impacting associated gas production as the country continues to battle gas supply issues alongside dwindling crude oil production. However, on a positive note, in the latest Reuters survey on crude oil production for September 2023, Nigerian crude oil production positively impacted OPEC crude production for the highlighted month.

As per the survey findings, Nigeria experienced a notable surge in its export volume during the month of September, with shipping data and authoritative sources confirming a substantial increase in output by 110,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Remarkably, this boost was achieved without significant disruptions to shipments, even in the face of challenges such as crude oil theft and security concerns.

Reuters highlighted this impressive development, shedding light on Nigeria’s resilience in managing its export activities effectively.

Despite grappling with persistent challenges related to crude oil theft and security, the nation is steadfastly aiming for a further recovery in the coming year, setting a targeted goal for 2024.

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