Navy, Army battle oil thieves in Niger Delta

29 October 2015, Port Harcourt — Crude oil theft and illegal refining are a booming business for jobless youths and the main source of pollution in the Niger Delta region. Despite efforts put in place to curtail illegal oil bunkering, the criminal economic activities are rising on a daily basis.

Illegal-Oil-Bunkering-or-theftAs part of effort to stem the embarrassing tide of oil theft in Niger Delta , former president Goodluck Jonathan set up joint military taskforce code named ‘Operation Pulo Shield,’ commanded by a top ranking army general but the illegal oil theft and economic sabotage is still booming.

In 2013, the federal government estimated crude oil theft and associated differed production at over 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is presently divesting its investment in the Nigerian oil sector because of the criminal activities of crude thieves.

The oil giant in its quarterly journal said intentional interference with pipeline and other infrastructure was responsible for about 75% of oil spill incidents while the total volume of spilled oil from its facilities between 2009 to 2013 stood at 92%. Much greater volumes of oil are discharged into the environment away from the company’s facilities through illegal refining and transportation of stolen crude oil.

In 2013, Shell said the number of spills from its facilities are caused by sabotage while theft increased to 157 compared to 137 in 2012 whilst production loss due to crude oil theft , sabotage and related temporary shutdowns increased by around 75%. The company said on average, around 32,000 barrels per day are stolen from SPDC pipelines and other facilities, whilst the joint venture lost production of around 174,000 bapd due to shutdowns related to theft and other third party interference. This equates to several billion dollars in revenue losses for the Nigerian government and the joint venture.

  • Daily Trust
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