Nigerian Navy may have recorded another major breakthrough in oil theft for the umpteenth time, as troops of Operation Dakatar Da Barawo have recovered over N1billion of stolen crude, among others in the last two weeks.
Its spokesman, Commodore Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, stated that in continuation with the fight against Crude Oil Theft (COT), Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) and illegal bunkering, Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) has continued to achieve the outlined objectives in the Areas of Operation (AOO).
“Notably, on June 1, 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Rivers State conducted a swamp buggy operation in some identified IRS during which 13 refining ovens, 6 reservoirs and 2 storage tanks were destroyed. Additionally, the IRS operators had abandoned 2 gas cylinders and fled at the sight of the Navy.
“The gas cylinders were handled appropriately. Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located and deactivated an IRS within a creek around Omadino Community in Warri South LGA of Delta State. The site had 7 ovens, 8 metal storage tanks and 2 pits cumulatively laden with about 3,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and about 6,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
“The site and products were neutralized appropriately. Also, 4 pumping machines and one 40hp outboard engine was recovered from the site.”
He added: “Also, on June 2, 2022, NNS SOROH arrested 2 trucks laden with suspected illegally sourced sludge at Opolo area in Yenagoa. The trucks were enroute Koko in Delta State without valid documents and approvals. A total of 5 suspects were therefore apprehended and in custody for later hand over for prosecution.
“Similarly, on June 3, 2022, NNS PATHFINDER discovered several IRS at Bukuma in Degema Creek and Creek 6 in Rivers State. There were 6 storage tanks and 3 massive pits filled with unspecified quantity of AGO and crude oil respectively. These were all neutralized.
“Furthermore, on June 5, 2022, NNS DELTA deactivated an IRS at Tebijo in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The IRS had 6 ovens, 11 metal storage tanks and 2 pits cumulatively filled with about 80,000 litres of stolen crude oil and about 150,000 litres of illegally refined AGO.
“Also, about 3,000 litres of illegally refined AGO in stored/hauled in sacks were destroyed. Likewise, 2 pumping machines were recovered and handled appropriately.”
Meanwhile, on June 6, 2022, NNS DELTA raided an IRS around Ikantu bush in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State.
“During the raid, 15 storage tanks, 3 ovens and 2 pits collectively filled with about 70,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 250,000 litres of stolen crude oil were all destroyed. Further exploitation of the area led to the discovery of another IRS around Ekpugbene Creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State.
“The site had 2 ovens, 7 metal storage tanks and one pit all filled with about 65,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 80,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, 3 oxy-acetylene cylinders and one pumping machine were discovered at the site. Accordingly, the site was deactivated while the 3 gas cylinders and one pumping machine were recovered from the site.
“Relatedly, an IRS adjacent to the location which had 15 ovens, 8 metal storage tanks, 5 surface storage tanks and one pit collectively, containing about 360,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 225,000 litres of stolen crude oil were destroyed accordingly.” He said.
“On June 7, 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, arrested 3 fibre boats (1 x 115hp and 2 x 75hp) and each boat operator at Ekpetiama in Amassoma Community. The boats were cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. The boats and suspects were subsequently taken into custody.
“Similarly, NNS PATHFINDER uncovered an illegal crude oil loading point at Cawthorne Channel 2, Off new Calabar River. Several wooden boats were apparently siphoning/stealing crude oil from a well head within the vicinity. It was further discovered that the supply point serves as the major source of crude oil for the notorious ‘Market Square’.
“Accordingly, the identified illegal cooking camps and wooden ‘Cotonou’ boats were deactivated. Thereafter, the Base established a waterborne guard post at the point, while awaiting the arrival of NNPC technical experts to secure the well head to prevent further loss/theft.
“Furthermore, on June 8, 2022, NNS DELTA located an IRS around Ajigbera Creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The site had 13 metal storage tanks and 9 ovens cumulatively laden with about 60,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Accordingly, the sites were deactivated while 4 pumping machines were recovered to the Base.”
The total value of products denied oil thieves is One billion nine hundred and ninety-one million five hundred and twenty nine thousand six hundred naira only (n1,991,529,600).