Federal Government’s privately contracted oil pipeline surveillance team, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, led by Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo, has reportedly discovered more massive illegal crude oil pipelines attached to Trans Forcados Export Trunkline.
The most recent findings, according to reports, came days after Tantita Security Services agents discovered an unauthorised 4-kilometer pipeline connected from the Trans Escravos line to the sea.
In two States of Delta and Bayelsa, Tantita Security Services agents were said to have discovered more than 58 unlawful tapping sites used by crude oil bunkers on the country’s oil pipelines as a result of the most recent findings.
Interestingly, the illegally connected point is just behind a military security post and is close to the Forcados Export Terminal in the Ogulagha community—less than a kilometre away.
The illicit pipeline was connected from this location to a nearby, abandoned pipeline riser that belonged to AGIP Petroleum Company Ltd.
Oil thieves have been transporting condensed crude oil to the sea through the abandoned AGIP facility in order to load the ships at midnight and travel abroad.
According to reports, the Forcados Terminal at Ogulagha has a nameplate capacity of exporting 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 boys.
“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.”