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October 16, 2022

PHOTOS: Crude oil thieves’ major export pipeline, platform uncovered

PHOTOS: Crude oil thieves’ major export pipeline, platform uncovered

•Illegal pipe attached to 48-inch SPDC’s trans-Forcados Export Trunk Line

•Tompolo’s consultant gives blow-by-blow account of fresh findings

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, and Akpokona Omafuaire

OPERATIVES of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, TSSNL, and security officials have uncovered a key illegal underwater pipeline and platform connected to the 48-inch Trans-Forcados Export Trunk Line in Delta State from which bunkers, together with government and security accomplices, directly siphon cleaned crude oil into ships and export overseas.

The unearthing of the criminal pipeline and platform attached to the trunk line, operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, is a major breakthrough in the renewed bid by the Federal Government, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, Ministry of Defense and other stakeholders to stop oil theft in the country.

Read Also: Nigeria ranks world capital of oil theft, records 400,000 bpd crude theft

Sources said professionals fabricated the illegal pipeline attached to a crude oil pipeline abandoned by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited, NAOC, and bunkers generously pump cleaned crude oil into their own vessels from the nation’s trans-Forcados pipeline at the rear of a military post in Ogulaha, Burutu local government area of Delta State. 

SPDC operates the Forcados Terminal in Ogulagha which has a nameplate capacity to export 400,000 barrels per day. It takes delivery of crude from the Forcados Oil Pipeline System and is the second largest pipeline network in the oil-producing region after the Bonny Pipeline System in the eastern Niger Delta.

Some IOCs and Nigerian independents operating in Western Niger Delta pump oil to the Forcados Oil Terminal for export.

The newest discovery is like the earlier illegal 4-km pipeline also attached to the same Trans–Forcados Export Trunk Line, earlier discovered by Tantita operatives.

Meanwhile, the Oil Spill Victims Initiative, OSPVI, has threatened to sue NNPCL and SPDC over the illegal pipeline connections used to siphon the country’s crude oil.

How we unearthed illegal pipeline, platform – Tantita

Marine Intelligence Consultant to TSSNL, Captain Warren Enisuoh, who briefed journalists in Ogulagha on the discovery, yesterday, said: “What has happened was that the perpetrators of this organized crime attached pipeline into a Shell Petroleum Development Company 48-inch export line. The crude in this line has been cleaned up and is ready to go.

“So, they tapped into it, the place was initially filled with water, but, technologically, they were able to connect their own pipe underwater.

“We trotted the line on foot to the point it was tapped, we had to create something on either side of the pipeline so that the water could be pumped out.

“For days, we pumped the water out before the illegality was exposed. You see that riser behind me is operated by another joint venture company called AGIP, so these fellows piped the crude through the abandoned oil field that belongs to AGIP, which they used to pipe crude oil to the Beniboye Flow Station.

“What happened is that instead of piping crude to Beniboye Flow Station, the oil bunkers export crude.

‘That particular jacket you see outside there is a very old one, they cut the Agip line, connected their own through the extreme riser out to that other jacket.

“Then at night, the usual thing happens, which is that they bring ships to that particular platform, connect their modernized lines to the ships, which they bring in, and off they go from there.

“Well, they are not smarter than Nigeria, NNPCL, Tantita. We discovered this about a week ago, and we had to employ a whole lot of machinery to be able to bring you (reporters) in to see it. It is not a yesterday thing.

“We knew about the platform and started working on it when we had the support of NNPCL and government. Nigeria has suffered enough, we have to stop these illegalities.

“The distance from the illegality to the point we are standing is about one kilometer and from here to the jacket is approximately four kilometers.

“Therefore,  what they do… because the whole line is a six-inch pipe,  each time they pump, they open their own valve and the crude stored on this line;  then,  they close if off so that when their ships are sucking, you would not feel the effect from the pressure on the other side.

“Therefore, it is a smart design, I do not know how long. With the intelligence we have been getting about ships coming to that particular area, which led to this find, it has been going on for a while, more a year perhaps.

“We share our intelligence with the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta and Operation Delta Safe.” 

It’s a joint collaboration – Buduwar, NAPIMS GM

The General Manager of Joint Venture Operations, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, Zakariya Budawara, also briefed reporters:

His words: “NNPCL has been on its toes in trying to bring stability to the host community. And the host community has been helpful in trying to see that we secure all oil and gas facilities, especially the one we saw, which has to do with the crude evacuation line.

“Today, for me, is just any other day, but we feel that the media should come and see the efforts of the NNPCL, stakeholders, including the community, government security agencies, private and community contractors, especially the one in the Western corridor, Tantita, are making.

“Tantita has been doing a great job, all these we are doing to assure Nigerians that we are working to curb crude oil theft.

“We know the direct impact on the revenue and on the people of the host communities and the environment.

“All you have seen is in demonstration of the collaborative efforts of everybody. Nobody can do it alone; it is the efforts of all the stakeholders.

“I am here on behalf of the Group Managing Director, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and his lieutenants.” 

Sources informed Sunday Vanguard that some International Oil Companies, IOCs, oil bunkers, and security officials jointly steal crude oil through the major pipeline connected to the 48-inch Export Trunk Line through an abandoned pipeline belonging to NAOC.