Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder has again recorded another success in the fight against oil theft in the Niger Delta region, as it frustrated efforts of oil assets vandals at OML18 facilities in Asari Toru and Degema Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
The OML18 oil assets situated at Kala Ekweama community in Asari Toru and Okakara community in Degema, and operated by the NNPCL, according to the Navy, was rescued from the hands of suspected oil thieves due to the intelligence gathered by a patrol helicopter the Navy deployed to scan the area over possible threats.
The Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Sulaiman Ibrahim, speaking to newsmen at the site of the oil well head which has already been tapped by the criminals yesterday, said the the botched oil theft was one out of their numerous achievements as the Navy was fully on ground and remained committed to curb all activities of oil theft in the Niger Delta.
Commodore Ibrahim urged members of the public to do well by stepping forward with information about any personnel involved in oil theft, so they can be prosecuted, adding that it takes the collective efforts of the military and the public to win the war against oil theft.
“This terrain was actually discovered by our air assets you all know what it took for us to get here, ordinarily this is a difficult terrain, the Navy has put everything on ground to ensure that it curbs illegal crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
“Just yesterday we had one of our assets a naval helicopter on an aerial patrol it was at the course of the patrol that we discovered this site, immediately gun boats were scrambled, and we had our personnel slept here so as to discontinue the oil theft process and their boats and other machines 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 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 cannot be carried except higher skilled and technical team are being brought in to do that.”
In Okakara community in Degema where another oil well head within OML 18 was already tampered with by suspected vandals, the NNS Pathfinder boss said the Navy would work with NNPC to fish out those behind the attack on the oil assets, as it takes only a highly skilled technicians to carry out such activity on the oil well head.
“This location OML 18 which belongs to the NNPC and was one of the location 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 a lot of technical skills have been involved when we found that pipes have been laid directly to the well head and then taken all the way to about three different loading points.
“This is something that there is no doubt have some very skilled technical people involved in, this kind of operation is not something a layman can just do, as it stand we would work with the company to investigate to find out who exactly are responsible for these connections.
“On the other hand, we would get across to the NNPC almost immediately so that they can come and do the needful and also engaged their local surveillance contractors who are ordinarily supposed to monitor the facility.
“The Navy particularly is readily available to collaborate with the community to ensure that their facilities are well protected in line with the chief of Naval Staff strategic directives.”
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