The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, in partnership with government and private security agencies, uncovered an illegal pipeline used by criminals to steal crude oil from the Forcados terminal in Delta State.
The discovery of the illegal pipeline was made about a week ago by Tantiter Security Services officers working in conjunction with security agencies.
The illegal pipeline is located in
Okuntu Community which is a few meters from the Forcados crude oil export terminal
The illegal 6-inch pipeline connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados export pipeline linking to the high seas where crude oil is loaded into ships.
It was linked to the original intention to steal crude oil from the main pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company and Agip.
The distance between where the illegal pipeline was connected and where it was used to load stolen crude oil into the ship is five to six kilometers.
The Forcados terminal, built in 1971, is located about 65 kilometers west of the town of Warri and has around ten crude oil storage tanks.
For some time, crude oil theft has had a negative impact on federal government revenues, depriving the country of much-needed funds to spur economic development.
In the first quarter of this year, Nigeria lost $1 billion in revenue due to crude oil theft and production stoppages caused by pipeline vandalism.
With a daily loss of more than 700,000 barrels of crude oil due to theft, pipeline vandalism and production stoppages, caused by mining crude oil from a maze of pipelines owned by oil majors, experts have said it had become imperative for the government to take a holistic approach to addressing the challenge of lost crude oil revenue.
At an average price of $100 per barrel of crude oil prices, this means that Nigeria is currently losing around $70 million per month to crude oil thieves and production stoppages.
Nigeria depends on crude oil revenues for more than 90% of its foreign exchange earnings and about 70% of government revenue.
The high level of oil losses caused by crude theft had caused daily oil production to fall from 1.8 million barrels per day over the past three years to just over 1 million bpd.
When vandals carry out their unlawful attacks, these activities lead to
low production and export of crude oil, losses of crude oil, gas and petroleum products, interruption of
supply of gas to power stations, decline in the national distribution of petroleum products and increase in
Additionally, such attacks on oil facilities create instability in the oil and gas market, increase pipeline maintenance and monitoring costs, increase power outages/outages, and increase the cost of petroleum products.
Stealing crude oil and halting production also reduces refining capacity, increases import of petroleum products, provides resources for criminals to fuel conflict and insurgency and also leads to environmental pollution and the loss of lives and human resources.
Speaking during a tour of the facility where the illegal pipeline was connected, Tantita Security Services maritime intelligence consultant Mr Warredi Enisuoh said the discovery was made thanks to the immense support of the NNPC.
He commended the leadership of NNPC and the federal government for having the political will to end the problem of crude oil theft.
He said: “This job seems easy to us because we never give up on our country. We know that we have challenges, we have been watching all these challenges for a while and we are waiting for the day when our country will need us to come on board and that eventually the positive involvement of the NNPC and also the government and our valiant forces to give us the protection we needed to protect this particular facility will pay off.
When asked how the discovery was made, he described the connection of the illegal pipeline as an “organized crime”.
He said that with credible intelligence, security guards were able to track the illegal pipeline buried under water that was used to siphon crude oil.
As soon as the illegal connection points were established, Enisuoh said THE WHISTLER that the team immediately began the evacuation of the river where the pipeline was buried.
He said the water drain took days before the pipeline was dug out of the ground.
He further explained: “Now what has really happened is that the perpetrators of this organized crime tapped into the export line of 48 inch shells, remember this is a export line, so the rough has been cleaned up, ready to go and it’s quite expensive.
“So they tapped into it, the place was initially filled with water but the technology allowed them to connect their own pipe inside the water.
“We walked through the line barefoot to the point where it was tapped. It was necessary to create two dams at the level of the catchment and so that the water contained in the dam could be pumped.
“For days we pumped the water and the illegality was revealed. So now what happened is you see this riser behind me, this riser is operated by another joint venture called Agip. They’re the ones running it and they haven’t used it.
“So what these illegals tried to do is that this oil field actually belongs to Agip and the pipe leads to the Benevoye gas station. So instead of heading to the gas station, the smarter boys in the room decided to export some rough through that particular jacket you see there.
He added: “It’s very daring, they went through this jacket by cutting Agip’s and connecting theirs, then at night the usual thing happens, which is to bring ships, near from that particular rig, they connect their pipes, collect the crude, and they go from there.
“As I keep saying, they are still smart, but they are not smarter than NNPC, they are not smarter than Nigeria and they are not smarter than Tantiter security agencies. That’s what brought us here today.
When asked how long the illegal extraction of crude oil had been going on at this facility, he replied, based on credible intelligence, that the theft had been going on for about a year.
“It’s definitely been there for a while. Obviously, with the intelligence we’ve gotten on ships coming into this area, which led to the discoveries, it’s been going on for quite some time, over a year to be precise” , he added.
NNPC Ltd Group Managing Director Mele Kyari, who also spoke during the tour of the facility, said the era of crude oil theft is over.
Kyari was represented by the
Managing Director, Joint Venture Operations National Petroleum Investments Management Services,
Mr. Zakariya Buduwara.
He said: “First, NNPC has always been on its toes to bring stability to the host communities and with the help of the communities we are working very hard to secure the oil and gas pipelines and all other oil and gas assets. gas companies because of the direct impact of these assets on revenues.
“Some activities also have adverse effects on people and the environment. Today is just another day but we believe access to media coverage will show our continued efforts to assure the Nigerians of NNPC Ltd and the commitment of stakeholders to curb and end the threat coarse flight.
He further explained that the discovery of the illegal connection is a demonstration of excellent collaborative efforts by NNPC Ltd and its stakeholders.
“NNPC thanks all of its stakeholders (military and all government security agencies, community, community/private security contractor, asset operator) who continually support this venture, especially communities and community contractors, contractor on the Tantita West Corridor, which is why we are here today. Together, we can make the difference we desire,” he added.