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Oil Theft: NNPC Makes Breakthroughs As It Unearthed  Fresh 223 Illegal Connections, Refineries

 Olushola Bello

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has recorded some breakthroughs while deepening its war on crude oil theft. It recently discovered 223 fresh illegal connections and illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.

In a two-minute video obtained by Channels Television on Wednesday, it was revealed that the incidents were recorded between the 10th and 16th of February 2024.

A breakdown showed that 27 of the incidences occurred at Matron Engineering facilities, 21 at Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, 7 at Shell Petroleum Development Company facilities, four at Tantite Security Services Ltd, and 156 incidences were recorded at facilities owned by government security agencies.

Additional details said 20 illegal connections were discovered in Okirika Rivers State, Bayelsa State, and Delta State, while illegal refineries were uncovered at different locations in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, and Abia states.

As seen in the video, sacks of crude oil were discovered in Warri, while cans of crude oil were seized in Edo State. More oil sacks were also seized in Olobiri, Bayelsa State.

Vandalised wellheads and pipelines were spotted in Bayelsa, and vehicles used for operations by the oil thieves were seized in Ole, Ugheli, and Warri in Delta State.

According to NNPCL, 52 suspects have been arrested so far.

On the geography of the incidents, the State Oil Company said 8 were recorded in deep blue waters, 32 in the western region, 123 in the central region, and 60 in the eastern region part of the Niger Delta.

“For NNPC Limited, there is no backing down on the war on crude oil theft until the menace is eradicated,” the Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, said.

The fresh incidents come on the heels of relatively low crude oil production bedevilling the oil and gas sector.

Statistics obtained by Channels Television from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC’s) Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for February, revealed that Nigeria’s crude oil production appreciated to 1.4 million barrels per day in January, but the country has been unable to meet its OPEC quota of 1.74 mb/d for 2023, and 1.58 mb/d for 2024.

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