Following the discovery and destruction of an illegal crude oil operation in the creeks of Rivers State, operatives of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited have returned to the site in a bid to completely dismantle the illegal oil pipelines in the area.
The Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Commodore Suleiman Ibrahim, said it was the most sophisticated illegal crude oil operation he had ever seen.
The Navy, led by Ibrahim, returned to the creeks with technicians of the NNPC’s Oil Mining Lease 18 (OML 18) to dismantle the illegal crude oil theft operation. The gunboat convoy headed to Well 17, a part of the OML 18 in the Elem Krakrama community under the Degema LGA of the state.
The level of sophistication and quality of craftsmanship by the oil thieves is arguably high. However, a swamp buggy is deployed to excavate the illegal pipelines, while NNPC technicians work on the Christmas tree in a bid to clamp the illegal flow.
Some suspects allegedly involved in crude oil theft, who claimed to be transporters of illegally refined diesel, were arrested and interrogated by the commander.
Speaking to journalists, Ibrahim said the Navy brought the NNPC Ltd to repair its facility, saying it was the most sophisticated illegal operation he had ever seen.
Commending the Navy, the Chairman of Emohua LGA commended the Navy but added that the fight was not one either of the local government chairmen could do alone.
While the Well 17 was installed by NNPC and is awaiting commissioning, crude oil thieves had already been siphoning crude from it. Questions remain over the involvement of communities and security operatives in this illegal operation.