According to an announcement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the country experienced 40 cases of crude oil theft from July 15 to July 21, 2023. This information was shared by the company via their official Twitter account on Tuesday.
The NNPCL reports that the battle against crude oil theft continues in the Niger Delta region, with particular emphasis on Rivers, Bayelsa, and Delta states. During this period, the company uncovered 93 illegal connections, and ongoing efforts are being made to disconnect and repair them.
Additionally, 69 illegal refineries were detected and subsequently dismantled within the specified timeframe as well as the discovery of 27 cases of pipeline vandalism during the same period, and the necessary repairs are currently underway to address the damages.
NNPCL and security agencies apprehends some stolen boats and trucks
Thanks to the collaborative efforts between the NNPCL and security agencies, a significant achievement was made as they successfully apprehended 30 wooden boats and trucks that were engaged in transporting stolen crude. These vehicles were confiscated in the past week, further bolstering the crackdown against crude oil theft in the region.
The report also outlined several incidents, including 13 vessel AIS infractions, 5 oil spills, 2 illegal vessels, and 1 case of document validation issues. Among these recorded occurrences, 13 were observed in the Deep Blue Water area, 41 in the Western region of the Niger Delta, 169 in the Central region, and 17 in the Eastern part of the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
However, the company’s statement did not include any information regarding the suspects who were found engaged in illegal activities using vessels, boats, and other materials that were subsequently destroyed or seized by the security agencies and the NNPCL.
Different opinions on vessel burning
Earlier this month, certain climate activists voiced concerns over the NNPCL and associated parties’ decision to burn vessels involved in crude oil theft. They argued that such actions have detrimental effects on the environment and should be avoided.
Olumide Idowu, the executive director of the International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI), expressed that the burning activities pose a threat to the source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation. He highlighted that such contamination can have adverse effects on Nigeria’s aquatic ecosystem, disrupting the delicate balance of plants and animals within it.
In contrast, Financial Analyst Kalu Aja recently advocated for the destruction of vessels/ships involved in illegal crude trade as the optimal solution. According to Aja, he views the Nigerian oil-lifting enterprise as an open-air crime scene where the security force is severely compromised, resulting in significant financial losses for the country due to the activities of a few well-connected criminals.
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