Between September 30 and October 6, 128 crude oil theft incidents were recorded across the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta.
This is according to a report from the weekly “Energy and You” series produced by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and airing on the NTA News Network.
According to the report, in the specific timeframe mentioned, there were numerous illicit activities in the oil sector.
These included 17 cases of unauthorized connections, 27 illegal refineries, 11 infractions related to vessel tracking systems (AIS), and 49 instances of wooden boat arrests.
Additionally, there were 10 cases of pipeline vandalism and 10 vehicle-related arrests. Authorities also discovered and took action against 2 illegal storage sites. Moreover, they identified 1 oil spill site and made an arrest related to a vessel involved in illegal activities.
The report went on to highlight a significant incident during that week involving Tantita Security Services Limited. They discovered a vandalized wellhead offshore in Warri, Delta State, with oil spewing into the sea, causing pollution.
Disturbingly, the security outfit received intelligence indicating that foreign ships were stealing oil from this location and selling it in neighbouring countries, exacerbating the environmental and economic implications of the situation.
The incidents of crude oil theft were disturbingly widespread, unfolding across various locations in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, and Imo states, all of which are situated within the vulnerable Niger Delta.
Shockingly, the thefts were distributed across different maritime regions, revealing the depth of this criminal activity.
In the Deep Blue Water alone, 12 incidents of crude oil theft transpired, indicating the audacity of criminals to venture into more challenging and deeper maritime areas.
Closer to the coast, the Western region had 37 reported theft incidents, highlighting the severity of the issue in this particular area.
Moving towards the heart of the Niger Delta, the Central region experienced 25 incidents of crude oil theft. The most alarming figures emerged from the Eastern region of the Niger Delta, where a staggering 54 incidents of crude oil theft were recorded.
On Tuesday, October 10, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio gave a directive to the Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream, and Gas), Host Communities, and Niger Delta Affairs to initiate investigations into the activities of security forces, militia groups, local residents, oil company employees, and any individuals or entities suspected of employing sophisticated methods to pilfer from oil facilities.
He gave the directive after Senator Ned Nwoko revealed that Nigeria had already lost N2.3 trillion to crude oil theft this year.
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