Oil Theft ; Illegal crude oil tapping points discovered by Security operatives
Operatives of the Nigerian Navy have reportedly uncovered illegal crude oil tapping points at the Oil Mining Lease (OML- 18) oil field in Asari-Toru and Degama Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
As reported by The PUNCH, the Navy said two wellheads at Kala Ekweama community in Asari Toru LGA and Krakama community in Delgama LGA operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company were tapped by suspected pil criminals
The Navy, however, said the national assets were recovered from miscreants through intelligence gathered from patrol of helicopters deployed in the area.
The Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship, Pathfinder in Port Harcourt, Commodore Sulaiman Ibrahim disclosed this while speaking to newsmen at the sites on Wednesday evening.
Ibrahim said people who have some technical skills were involved in the illicit activity, saying pipes were laid directly to the Wellheads and taken to about three different loading points.
Ibrahim stated that the Navy was fully on the ground, adding that the security outfit remained committed to putting an end to oil theft and other forms of economic sabotage.
He stated, “This terrain was actually discovered by our air assets. You all know what it took for us to get here
“Ordinarily this is difficult terrain, the Navy has put everything on the ground to ensure that it curbs crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
“Just yesterday we had one of our assets a naval helicopter on an Arial patrol it was in the course of the patrol that we discovered this site.
“Immediately gunboats were scrambled and we had our personnel sleep here to discontinue the oil theft process and their boats and other machines have taken away.
“At the same time, we have contacted OML- 18 who are the operators of this field to send their technical team and skilled manpower which you all saw on the ground to join in the collaboration.
“But the challenging report we got from the technical team sent is that the oil well head has been greatly compromised.
“So all efforts to get products out is quite difficult at the moment as oil exploration can not be carried except higher skilled and technical team are being brought in to do that.”
Continuing, the Commander, NNS Pathfinder said” We are here today at location OML-18 which belongs to the NNPC OML-18 resources at Okakara.
“This is one of the locations that was identified yesterday when we did an overflight using our air assets and you could see that the arrangement here is a bit more complex.
“You could see that there is a lot of technical skills have been involved when we found that pipes have been laid directly to the wellhead and then taken all the way to about three different loading points.
“There is no doubt that it has some very skilled technical people involved in this kind of operation because it is not something that a layman can just do as it stands.
“We would work with the company to investigate to find out who exactly is responsible for these connections.
“On the other hand we equally company we would get across to them almost immediately so that they can come and do the needful and also engage their local surveillance contractors who are ordinarily supposed to monitor the facility.”
On the allegations that the Nigerian Navy and other military officers are involved in illegal oil bunkering, Commodore Ibrahim appealed to members of the public to come forward with information and names of officers involved for prompt action.