23 April 2014, Lagos – Exxon Mobil in the United Kingdom, UK, has reported that its pipeline has been tapped into by thieves to siphon fuel. This has made oil operation in Britain to experience what the West had termed a ‘Nigeria problem’ of frequent crude oil theft.
Media reported that more than 30,000 litres of diesel was involved, worth 41,000 pounds ($70,000) at pump prices. While fuel tapping from UK pipelines is rare, media have reported a small but growing number of fuel thefts from vehicle tanks.
The theft of metals, such as copper cable, has led to communications and rail network disruptions. Police said that they had arrested two men, aged 32 and 34, in connection with the theft.
Exxon Mobil said it was working to reopen one of Britain’s main underground fuel pipelines after the discovery of a tapping device and a stash of diesel that police believed was siphoned off by thieves.
The company, which operates as Esso in Britain, said yesterday that the device was found on the Midline pipeline that transports fuel from its Fawley Refinery near the south coast to its Birmingham fuel terminal in central England.
“Our specialists are now working to remove the tapping device, repair, test the pipeline and restore it to normal operations as soon as possible,” Exxon said in a statement.
Police launched an investigation after a large quantity of diesel was found in an industrial storage unit at West Wellow in Hampshire, southern England.