June 21, 2024

149 crude thefts curtailed in 1 week, as oil thieves get sophisticated with CCTV cameras, mortar launchers, defence systems -NNPC reveals 

Oredola Adeola


The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited announced that it has curtailed about 149 incidences of crude theft between the October, 14 and 20, 2023, despite the thieves’ use of CCTV cameras on trees, mounted mortar launchers, and defence systems in various locations.


This was contained in a statement released by the national oil company and obtained by EnergyDay on the sideline of the breakthrough achieved in the fight against unauthorized and illegal trade of crude oil.


According to the statement by NNPCL, out of the 149 different oil theft incidents across the Niger Delta about 9 cases were recorded in the deep blue water, 23 in the western region, 67 in the central region, and 50 in Nigeria’s Eastern Region.


Across the Niger Delta, the war on crude oil theft is on and the industry-wide security collaboration continues to record remarkable progress.


NNPCL revealed that the situation in the last few weeks become a warfare of sorts in some areas of the Niger Delta.


It said, “In Osuobodo between 2 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.


“In this camp, CCTV cameras have been installed on trees by the thieves to look out for security operatives. Mortar launchers and defence systems were also mounted by the oil thieves in various locations to eliminate any perceived enemy.


“This discovery was made possible after an invasion by the military following information gathered by 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, 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& Ogharefe in Delta State, Ohaji Egbema in Imo, Brass in Bayelsa and in Rivers state.


“At this spot in Rivers state, oil thieves drilled a tunnel underneath the tarred road to insert their illegal connection. The aim is to operate undetected. This was planned and carried out by an expert, using a horizontal directional drilling machine.


“16 cases of Pipeline vandalism were recorded this week in Azuzu in Bayelsa state and Obodo Omadina & Ogidigbein in Delta state where a wellhead was vandalised.


“In Ozuaku in Abia state, a vandalised pipeline is being repaired.


“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, an interesting discovery was made. More storage facilities were discovered in Ogborode, Ugborodo, and Kwale in Delta State, Tomble and Emuoha in Rivers State, and Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.


“In Ozoro, Umuosonwu, and Patani in Delta state, vehicles conveying sacks of crude oil, were arrested and their content confiscated. 5 vehicle arrests were made between the 14 and 20th of October, 2023.


“18 wooden boats conveying stolen crude were also apprehended this week in Rivers, Delta, and Imo states,” the NNPC statement revealed.


EnergyDay further gathered that the menace of crude oil theft has increased in the Niger Delta central and Eastern regions with 67 and 50 different cases reported respectively.


NNPC Limited, therefore emphasised that it is not backing down on the war on crude oil theft until the menace is eradicated for good.