By our Reporter
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has said the Federal Government is determined to end crude oil theft through the deployment of technology and additional security measures.
The Minister, who made the remarks at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday after the aerial surveillance of the Trans-Forcados oil pipeline in Rivers State, said the measures taken so far have begun to bear results.
“The continued campaign by the Government Security Agencies (GSAs) have led to the arrest of 210 suspects and confiscation of 20.2 million liters of AGO, 461.8 thousand liters of PMS, 843.6 thousand liters of DPK, and 383.5 thousand barrels of crude oil.
“An additional 365 illegal refining sites were destroyed, with about 1,054 refining ovens, 1,210 metal storage tanks, 838 dugout pits, and
346 reservoirs destroyed by the GSAs.
“We witnessed first hand a number of illegal refineries destroyed by our military in the course of our aerial surveillance,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said many vehicles, crude mining and bunkering equipment, such as speed boats, wooden boats, trucks and tankers, have also been confiscated.
The Minister said private security contractors were also contracted to provide local intelligence on all illegal crude ventures happening within the region and security surveillance services for safe and
seamless operations along the nation’s pipeline networks.
“The new security architecture leverages collaboration between the Upstream operators, Industry Regulators, Government Security Agencies (GSA), and Private Security Contractors (PSC),” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the NNPC Ltd. has now set up a Command and Control Centre for round-the-clock monitoring of petroleum operations and activities within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which ensures that all vessel movements within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone are monitored.
“In addition, all ship-to-ship activities within the Nigerian EEZ are also monitored. Vessels without permits are flagged and escalated to the Nigerian Navy for a prompt response. Production is also monitored end-to-end at the Command and Control Centre, from the wellhead to the export terminals,” he said.
The Minister commended the foresight of the NNPC Ltd by investing heavily in deploying appropriate technology with capabilities beyond visual line of sight for continuous surveillance.
He said the investment in technology has become critical because the nefarious activities of vandals is causing Nigeria to lose approximately 700,000 barrels of oil daily.
The Minister, accompanied by a team of journalists, undertook a 90-minute aerial survey that started from the Port Harcourt International Airport to Rumuekpe-Rumuji-Rukpoku-Ebubu-Bodo-Bomu-Bonny-Ahoada and back to Port Harcourt.