The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has restated its resolve to continue its onslaught against crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
As the criminal enterprise gets more sophisticated, the NNPC says “there is no backing down on the war on crude oil theft, until the menace is eradicated for good.”
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, the company said across the Niger Delta, the war on crude oil theft is ongoing, with industry-wide security collaboration continuing to record remarkable progress.
In the past week, the NNPCL said about 149 incidents were recorded across the Niger Delta, with some areas turning out to be warfare of sorts.
In Osu Obodo, the NNPCL said between two ANTAN flow stations south of Oguta naval base in Imo state, an oil bunkering site was uncovered.
“Far from the regular, these criminals have taken their activities a notch higher as they are becoming more and more sophisticated and daring in their operations. In this camp, CCTV monitoring cameras have been installed on trees by the thieves to watch out for security operatives.
“Mortar launchers and defence systems were also mounted by the oil thieves in various locations to eliminate any perceived enemy,” a recent monitoring report said.
The report said the discovery was made possible after an invasion by the military following information gathered by an air surveillance carried out by Target Energy, Tantita security services, Operation Delta Safe and the Military in August.
“It’s a well orchestrated mission. The thieves are determined to live here and trade their stolen crude. A lack of electricity is no excuse. Generators are on standby to keep the camp’s operations afloat. Drums of crude oil feeding from an illegal connection, make shift bags used for storing crude and more were discovered on the camp.
“Between the 14th to 20th of October, 2023, 49 illegal connections were uncovered in Udu and Ogharefe in Delta State, Ohaji Egbema in Imo, Brass in Bayelsa and Rivers states respectively, the report added.
At the spot in Rivers state, the report said oil thieves drilled a tunnel underneath the tarred road to insert their illegal connection.
The connection was obviously planned and carried out by an experienced expert using a horizontal directional drilling machine, with the aim of continuing the illegal operate undetected.
This, the report said, was 16 cases of oil pipeline vandalism recorded this week in Azuzu in Bayelsa state and Obodo Omadina and Ogidigbein in Delta state where a well head was vandalised.
Also, in Ozuaku in Abia state, a vandalised pipeline is being repaired, while 10 facilities used for storing stolen crude were uncovered in various locations in the Niger Delta in the past week.
In Ekpemu in Delta state, the report said another interesting discovery was made, with
more storage facilities discovered in Ogborode, Ugborodo and Kwale in Delta State, Tomble and Emuoha in Rivers state and Yenagoa n Bayelsa state.
Again, in Ozoro, Umuosonwu and Patani in Delta state, the report said vehicles conveying sacks of crude oil were arrested and their content confiscated, while five vehicle arrests were made between the 14 and 20th of October, 2023.
No fewer than 18 wooden boats conveying stolen crude were also apprehended this week in Rivers, Delta and Imo States, with nine of these incidents taking place in the deep blue water, 23 in the western region , 67 in the central region and 50 in Nigeria’s Eastern Region.