25 March 2013, Yenagoa – Multinational oil giant, Shell, has issued an alert over the criminal breaching of its multimillion dollar Nembe Creek Oil Trunk Line, NCTL, by vandals operating along the creeks and waterways of the Niger Delta.
Media Centre Coordinator of the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, on the Niger, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, who disclosed this to journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, stated that 22 breach points were discovered along the Nembe and Cawthorne channels of the trunk line.
He said the the vandals used a break-in process called cold cutting to vandalise the trunk line, and then left the crude oil to flow freely into the creeks, as they could not plug the areas they had opened on the line, thus polluting the surrounding areas.
Nwachukwu maintained that the vandalised points were discovered by men of the task force who were on patrol in the area and promptly reported it to the management of Shell.
The JTF spokesman stated that the discovery contradicted Shell’s recent complaint that inadequate policing had given unhindered access to illegal bunkering along the waterways of the region and was responsible for the menace.
Nwachukwu revealed that a ground-trotting exercise report which involved 11 representatives of the various departments in Shell, four senior military officers and 24 operatives from JTF and some SPDC surveillance contractors working in the general area showed that the vandals were still actively operating in the area.
He said: “The ground-trotting exercise covered the NCTL passing through Cawthorne Channels 1 and 2, Global Gas Creek, Adamakiri, Money Ground, Creek 6 and Kalaibiama.
“A total of about 22 breached points which have earlier been identified and reported to SPDC to clamp were however found unattended. Some of the old points were supposed to have been clamped but had not been clamped, were discovered to have some new illegal hose connections made again.
“The connections were all disconnected by cutting the hoses into pieces. No new breached points were discovered during the exercise.
“Also, two wooden barges containing some crude oil were discovered hidden in a creek near Global Gas Plant during the exercise. The barges were set ablaze in situ.
“The combined JTF/SPDC ground-trotting also covered the Nembe axis of the NCTL. The JTF team was led by the Sub-Sect 2 Commander, Lt Col Muktar Adamu, while the SPDC team was led by Mr. Johnson Erewa.
“The exercise was concluded with the resolve by all parties to bridge the communication gap existing between them by working together as partners for the common goal of tackling oil theft.
“SPDC was also once again urged to expedite action on clamping all the identified breached points along the NCTL, while the JTF maintains its robust patrols”.