Another Illegal Oil Pipeline Connected To High sea
Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL), a company owned by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, has discovered another allegedly illegal crude oil pipeline attached to Trans Forcados Export Trunkline through which crude oil was being diverted from a 400,000 barrel per day Forcados pipeline to the high seas for export.
The discovery, which is coming few days after an illegal four-kilometre crude oil pipeline belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was exposed, was made about a week ago by operatives of TSSNL through an exclusive Intel according to Chief Keston Pondi, Managing Director, TSSNL.
The discovered illegal pipeline, on close observation on Saturday by our correspondent, revealed that the illegal line was connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunkline in Burutu Local Government Area.
Curiously, the illegally plugged point is directly located behind a military security post and less than a kilometre to the Forcados Export Terminal in Ogulagha community.
From the point of connection, the illegal pipeline was linked to another abandoned pipeline riser located within the vicinity and owned by AGIP Petroleum Company Ltd.
Through the abandoned AGIP facility, the oil thieves have been ferrying condensed crude oil to the sea for loading into thieving ships at midnight for onward movement abroad.
The Forcados Terminal located in Ogulagha has a nameplate capacity to export 400,000 barrels per day.
It receives crude oil from the Forcados Oil Pipeline System, the second largest pipeline network in the oil-producing region, after the Bonny Oil Pipeline System in the eastern Niger Delta.
Some international oil companies (IOCs) and Nigerian independents operating in the Niger Delta also pump crude oil to the Forcados Oil Terminal for exports, it was gathered.
Speaking to journalists on how the illegal connection was discovered, Captain Waredi Enisuoh, a marine intelligence consultant for TSSNL, said the crude oil stealing from the trunkline had been on for quite a while by some very smart boy
“We have been monitoring all these activities for quite a while now and we are waiting for the day our country will move forward.
“What had happened was that the perpetrators of this particular organized crime had tapped into Shell 48 inch export line.
“The crude has been cleaned up and ready to go. It’s quite expensive. So, they tapped into it. The place was initially filled with water but technologically, they were able to connect their own pipes under water.
“We traced the lines with bare feet to the point where it was tapped. We had to create two dams on either side of the pipe so that the water contained in the dam can be pumped out.
“We pumped the water out for days before the illegality was exposed. That riser behind me is operated by another Joint Venture Company called AGIP.
“This oil field actually belonged to AGIP and the pipe belongs to a filing station. So, instead of piping crude to the filing station, the smartest boys in the room decided to export crude through that particular jacket you’re seeing over there.
“They piped the lines into that place by cutting the AGIP’s one, connecting theirs, which goes through this particular riser.
“At night, they will bring a ship close to that particular platform reconnect their flange to fit into the ship and off they go
They are smart but they are not smarter than the NNPCL, Nigerians and TSSNL operatives.”
According to him, “We discovered this about a week ago. As you can see, we had to employ a whole lot of machinery to clear the area.
“We knew about it and started working on it when we had the support from NNPCL to go in.
“We are not going to predict what will happen next so that people don’t get smarter than us
“So, we have to keep what we know for now and plead with those who take their time to steal from Nigerians to please stop.
“We’ve suffered enough and I think it’s high time we all came together and do something differently.”
Although Captain Enisuoh, could not give the accurate volume of crude oil being siphoned for export illegally, he explained how crude was being stolen without the knowledge of the owners.
“The distance from the illegality to this point is about one kilometres and from here to the jacket is about four kilometres.
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“So what they do is that each time the pumping is going on, they open their own valve and then the crude is stored on this line, then they close it off. So that when their ships are sucking, you won’t feel the effect from the pressure on the other side. It’s quite a smart design.
“We can’t tell how long it has been but it has been here for a while and with the intelligence we’ve been getting about ships coming to that particular area which led to this finding, has been going on for a while, more than a year.
“You will have to do a whole lot of calculation based on the inches of the pipe and then calculate it by five kilometres and multiply that by the cubic metre you get per kilometre and you will get the volume.”
He added that to wait to apprehend those perpetrating the illegality in the act would have been difficult given the resources needed to do so and given the fact that TSSNL is not a security outfit neither is it out to arrest, but to discourage the act.
“It would have taken more resources to wait to apprehend them on the act. Why I said more resources is because, we would have had to go through a series of procedures because as you know, Tantitan Security Services is not a military outfit.
“It’s only an intelligence gathering outfit which we share with our gallant forces which is the JTF and Operation Delta Safe via the NNPC as well.
“We cannot continue to bleed and wait. Our objective is not really to nail anybody, it’s just to ensure that people should stop. Enough is Enough,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, said the company would continue to collaborate with host communities and other stakeholders to ensure that all oil and gas facility are secured.
Kyari, who was represented by Mr General Manager, Gas Development Division, NAPIMS,
Mr Buduwara Bitrus Zakariya, said: “NNPC Ltd has been on its toes in trying to bring stability to the host communities and the host communities have been very helpful in trying to ensure that we secure all oil and gas facilities, especially the one we saw which has to do with the crude oil evacuation lines.
“Today is just any other day, but we just feel that the media should come and help us to show all the efforts NNPCL and all the stakeholders have been doing.
“They’ve been doing a great job. All that we are doing is to ensure and also assure Nigerians that we are doing something to curb this menace of crude oil theft.
“We know the direct impact it has on the revenue and on the people in the host communities and the environment.
“Taking the risk on behalf of Nigerians to see what is happening here shows collaborations of everybody.
“No one can build alone; we should all do it together to achieve the desired objectives.”
It will be recalled that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), in its bid to find lasting solution to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, penultimate month awarded a pipeline surveillance contract in Delta and Bayelsa states to Tompolo, whose involvement has been yielding results.