Security personnel from a coalition of Tantita Security Services, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) carried out an operation on September 21.
The operation was in response to information about vandals at the Amuekpe-Escravos Pipeline in Mereje, Delta State, and found a 4-inch illegal connection implanted on a 32-inch Amuekpe-Escravos pipeline crossing a body of water to an illegal refinery.
According to a report issued by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on Tuesday, September 26, this is the case.
According to the data, the period from September 16 to September 25, 2023, saw a worrying increase in the number of crude oil theft cases, totaling 195 instances.
The company's weekly television programme "Energy and You," which was aired on the NTA News, was used to make this statement.
One of the Tantita security agents who was present at the discovery of the unauthorised line on the Amuekpe-Escravos pipeline said:
“Just a few days ago, we came up with the intel that they discovered the place, what we discovered here is amazing, you can see the illegal connection which is running through all the way down to their illegal refinery.
"So, we are following this up for the relevant authorities to act immediately and remove this illegal connection.
"The Nigerian Military is also here with us as well as the Civil Defense, we are working together on this operation.”
The study emphasised the joint efforts made in halting these illegal activities by NNPCL and the nation's security services, including both official entities and third-party affiliates.
Surprisingly, within a week, their well-coordinated efforts prevented 195 incidents of crude oil theft.
The report gave a thorough description of the incidents that occurred during this time period.
Notably, there were 40 instances of unauthorised connections, 78 instances of unauthorised refineries using stolen crude, 20 instances of pipeline damage, and 8 instances of recognised storage locations for stolen crude.
In addition, the joint operation discovered 5 instances of vessel AIS violations and resulted in the capture of 34 wooden boats used to transport stolen oil.
Nine vehicle arrests were also made by law enforcement, and an oil leak site was found, which raised concerns for the environment.
Note that other crude theft sites were also discovered in Delta State (Obodo Omadino, Sapele, Warri, Ughelli, Ndokwa West, Kwale) as of September 21 according to the NNPCL report.
According to the research, Rivers (Ebocha), Imo (Ohaji-Egbema), and Bayelsa (Ogbia) States were also hotbeds of criminal activity during the given period.
The Federal Government has been encouraged to prioritise improved pipeline security surveillance through the use of cutting-edge technologies including satellite imaging and sophisticated ICT tools by the Nigerian Extractives Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
This strategy will allow for immediate intervention in incidents of pipeline vandalism and real-time surveillance.
The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA)'s budgetary provisions, which support the welfare of Host Communities, must be implemented in conjunction with businesses and the federal government, according to NEITI.
The action will strengthen societal ownership and responsibility for crude oil pipelines.