Navy Confirms Relocation of Illegal Refiners to Nigeria’s South East Region

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…….Announces Seizure of Stolen, 6m litres of Crude Oil Worth N3bn during raids

The Nigerian Navy has confirmed the migration by operators of illegal refining sites IRS from the South South geopolitical zone to the South East. 

The revelation comes as the Nigerian Navy yesterday released a report-card of its raids and arrests in mostly Niger Delta region under Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB).

The Nigerian Navy said in the third week of the operation alone, it seized 6, 000, 000 litres of stolen crude oil estimated at N3billion. The report accounts for the seizures and arrests made in different parts of the country between April 15th and 23rd, 2022, being the third week of the operation, the Navy said.

The release issued by Naval Headquarters stated that the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA in Warri, the Navy detailed the raids and arrests nationwide.

Accordingly, the Navy said deactivated an illegal refining site (IRS) around Sara creek. It said the IRS had 16 ovens, 16 metal storage tanks and three wide pits filled with about 500,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, as well as 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil, a generator and 4 pumping machines.

At Asugbo creek in Warri, the Navy said six ovens, 12 metal storage tanks and five large pits all containing about 600,000 litres of stolen crude oil including 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 150,000 litres of sludge were discovered.

Sequel to series of air reconnaissance, Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO in Bayelsa State on April 19, 2022, the Navy it raided an IRS at Ereweibio creek in Brass.

Accordingly, seven large cooking ovens, 10 large metal storage tanks and drums all laden with about 400,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined PMS were discovered.

The site also had five large pits holding approximately 700,000 litres of stolen crude oil. Equally, two pumping machines, one gasoline generator, one submersible pump and one chainsaw machine were discovered at the site and destroyed in situ.

Again, on April 21, 2022, an IRS at Lelemu creek in Warri South-West was discovered. During the operation, 19 ovens, 26 metal storage tanks and two dugout pits laden with about 250,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 50,000 litres of illegally refined AGO were destroyed.

To ensure effective deactivation of IRS, NNS DELTA on 21 April 2022 conducted swamp buggy operations during which an earlier identified IRS around Egwa creek in Warri was destroyed.

During the operation, 16 ovens, 31 metal storage tanks and seven large pits all filled with about 850,000 litres of stolen crude oil were equally deactivated.

Relatedly, on 22 April 2022, around Lelemu creek in Warri South West LGA of Delta State, personnel under NNS DELTA again discovered 22 IRS ovens, 12 metallic storage tanks and 5 large pits all containing about 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

“At another IRS off Lelemu creek, 19 ovens, 42 storage tanks and 14 large pits containing about 300,000 litres of stolen crude oil, as well as approximately 200,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 100,000 litres of illegally refined DPK and 100,000 litres of suspected crude oil sludge were all destroyed,” the Navy statement said

In Kogi, the Navy said NNS LUGARD discovered an IRS on 22 April 2022, at a location off Akili-Ozizor community of Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State. During the operation, four locally fabricated ovens, seven metal storage tanks, four large pits of which two were for storage of about 48,000 litres of stolen crude oil were all destroyed.

On the same day, NNS VICTORY in Calabar raided tanker garage along Harbour road in the city and seized a storage tank containing about 45,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.

Also, a tanker laden with 33,000 litres of suspected locally refined AGO was seized and the owner was arrested. Furthermore, about 58 drums of locally refined AGO were also seized.

Additionally, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, on Saturday 23 April 2022 intercepted a wooden boat at Otuokpot Area along Kolo creek. “The wooden boat was laden with 60,000Litres of illegally refined AGO together with over 100 sacks of same product.

Items on the boat which included one pumping machine, one Yamaha 40HP outboard engine and one locally made boat Anchor with the products were destroyed at Ogbia waterside,” it stated.

The base also conducted a search on a Market Boat heading for St Nicolas Axis from Akassa area. About 2,500 litres of suspected illegally refined products stored in gallons and sacks were hidden inside the boat.

Likewise on the same day, personnel under NNS DELTA on patrol around Jones creek in Warri South West LGA raided an IRS and discovered 33 ovens, 42 metal storage tanks and seven wide pits all filled with about 1,200,000 litres of stolen crude oil, 250,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of sludge.

Furthermore, combing of the area off Jones creek led to the discovery of another IRS with five ovens, two metal storage tanks and eight large pits with about 150,000 litres of sludge. Both IRS off Jones creek with the discovered items and products were destroyed in situ.

The statement affirmed that over 6,000,000 litres of products valued over N3 billion from oil thieves and economic saboteurs.

The Nigerian Navy said it is not worried about the decision by illegal refiners to relocate to South East as it is equal to the task. “This development will in no way deter the Nigerian Navy from ensuring zero tolerance for COT, IRS, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime environment and adjoining territory,” it said.

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