Spike in crude oil theft: NNPCL reports 170 incidents in one week

Spike in crude oil theft: NNPCL reports 170 incidents in one week
Spike in crude oil theft: NNPCL reports 170 incidents in one week

In a recent episode of “Energy and You,” aired on the NTA Network News, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) unveiled a concerning surge in crude oil theft over the span of a week, from September 23 to 29, primarily within the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Within this short period, a staggering total of 170 reported cases of crude oil theft emerged, painting a dire picture of the situation.

Sophisticated crude oil theft

The incidents were further broken down into various categories, including 40 cases of illegal connections, 52 illegal refineries, 15 instances of pipeline vandalism, 38 illegal storage sites, 10 arrests related to wooden boats, 8 vessel AIS infractions, 5 vehicle arrests, and 2 oil spill sites.

In a particularly alarming discovery on October 1, 2023, a new level of sophistication in crude oil theft was uncovered in Delta State.

Tantita Security Services stumbled upon a fully operational tissue paper manufacturing plant secretly powered by an illegal refinery concealed within a warehouse.

The facility was found to contain sacks of stolen crude, and it was revealed that vehicles with the capacity to transport 50 bags of crude oil were involved in supplying stolen crude to this facility.

The stolen crude was ingeniously converted into diesel to fuel the boilers required for generating heat to dry crushed recycled paper into tissue paper.

The report also highlighted the prevalence of illegal refineries across multiple local government areas in Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Imo, Abia, and Delta States.

Shockingly, 13 of these crude oil theft incidents occurred in the deep blue waters, 45 in the western region, 62 in the central region, and a significant 50 in the western region, underscoring the widespread nature of this issue.

Crude oil theft not only impacts crude oil production but also affects associated gas production, exacerbating Nigeria’s ongoing struggles with gas supply issues amid declining crude oil production.

Despite these persistent challenges, Nigeria managed to positively impact OPEC crude production in September 2023.

According to the Reuters survey, the country experienced a substantial surge in export volume during the month, with shipping data and authoritative sources confirming an increase in output by 110,000 barrels per day (bpd).

This achievement was notable as it occurred without significant disruptions to shipments, despite the challenges posed by crude oil theft and security concerns.