Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC has disclosed that the ongoing efforts by the federal government to combat the activities of crude oil thieves have led to the discovery of an illegal oil pipeline.
The country, energy experts say loses more than 700 barrels of crude oil to well-organized vandals and oil thieves who operate in mostly the creeks of the Niger Delta.
Security agencies, warlords and community leaders have been fingered by security experts in the crime in which over $7 million is believed to be lost daily by the federal government.
The NNPC chief executive who spoke to the Senate joint Committees on Petroleum (upstream and downstream), and gas on Tuesday said the 4-kilometer pipeline from Forcados terminal to the sea and a loading port that has been operating undetected for close to 10 years.
The discovery comes a few weeks after the federal government awarded a firm owned by Government Ekpumopolo also known as Tompolo a multi-billion-naira oil pipeline protection contract.
It is not clear whether Tompolo was connected to the discovery, but it was learned that security has been ramped up around the nation’s crude oil assets following the signing of the over N40 billion yearly contract.
“Security agencies in the Niger Delta and other private concerns are now working together to secure the oil pipelines across the Niger Delta. The communities are also involved in helping the federal government to secure our oil assets,” a security source said on Thursday.
Speaking to the senators Kyari said security agencies have stepped up efforts in rooting out oil thieves from the nation’s oil-bearing states, which has now paid off, adding that all will be done to stop oil theft that has persisted for more than two decades in the region.
“The Brass, Forcados, and the Bonny terminals, are all practically doing zero production today; the combined effect is that you have lost 600,000 barrels per day when you do a reality test,” Kyari said.
According to him, “As a result of oil theft, Nigeria loses about 600,000 barrels per day, which is not healthy for the nation’s economy, and in particular, the legal operators in the field, which had led to a close down of some of their operational facilities.
“But in rising to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPCL has in recent times in collaboration with relevant security agencies, clamped down on the economic saboteurs.
“In the course of the clamp down within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been deactivated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1, 561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized and the most striking of all is the four-kilometre illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for nine solid years.
“It is not only security but social as locals in most areas where the illegal refiners operate, unknowingly serve as their employees by mistaking them for operatives of licensed companies for oil exploration and production in the area.”