An oil pipeline surveillance team contracted by the federal government to check crude oil theft, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, has reportedly discovered more illegal crude oil pipelines attached to Trans Forcados Export Trunkline.
The latest discoveries by the firm led by Mr. Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo, sources said, came days after its operatives uncovered an illegal four-kilometre pipeline connected from the Trans Escravos line to the sea.
With the latest discoveries, the security outfit has so far uncovered more than 58 illegal tapping points used by crude oil thieves in Delta and Bayelsa states.
It was gathered that the newly-discovered illegal crude oil pipeline was connected directly to the sea in Delta.
According to sources, the illegal pipeline discovered a few days ago was connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunkline in the Burutu Local Government Area.
One of the sources noted with concern that the pipeline was directly behind a military security post less than one kilometre from the Forcados Export terminal in Ogulagha community.
The source also revealed that it was connected to another abandoned pipeline located within the vicinity and owned by a multinational petroleum company, adding that it was through this company’s abandoned facility that the oil thieves shipped the crude to the sea for loading and onward movement abroad.
The Forcados terminal is said to have a nameplate capacity to export 400,000 barrels per day and receives crude oil from the Forcados Oil Pipeline System, which is the second largest pipeline network in the oil-producing region, after the Bonny Oil Pipeline System in the Eastern Niger Delta.
Moreso, it was learnt that some international oil companies and Nigerian independents operating in the western Niger Delta pump oil to the Forcados oil terminal for exports.
When contacted, the managing director of Tantita Security Services, Chief Keston Pondi, told our correspondent that he was on a boat en route Oporoza, in Gbaramatu kingdom, “to show the place to NNPC officials”.
He added, “The illegal tappings discovered so far are so much that I cannot just tell you a figure right now. I don’t want to give you the wrong figure.
Only in the western corridor alone, we have discovered so much. Please, give me just a little more time, so I will be able to give you the accurate figure discovered so far.”
Meanwhile, officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company [NNPC] Ltd, led by the general manager, joint venture operations of National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Zakariya Buduwara, last weekend visited the sites of the newly uncovered illegal crude oil pipelines attached to Trans Forcados Export Trunkline in the Niger Delta oil fields.
The assessment visit revealed that the perpetrators of the latest crime had tapped into Shell’s 48-inch export line from where crude was illegally siphoned into a waiting vessel, ready for shipment.
Commenting on the discovery, Buduwara said, “NNPC has been on its toes in trying to bring stability to the host communities. All we are doing is to ensure and also assure Nigerians that we are doing something to curb the menace of this oil theft.
We know the direct impact oil theft has on the national revenue as well as the environmental hazards, especially on the people in the host communities.
“All you have seen is a demonstration of the collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders. No one can do it alone. We can all do it together to achieve our desired objectives,” he said.