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Crude oil theft: JTF discovers 22 breach points on Shell pipeline

By The Citizen
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Joint Military Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield yesterday disclosed that there were 22 breach points at the Nembe and Cawthorne channels of the Nembe Creek Crude Oil Trunk Line (NCTL) of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

The JTF which discovered the breached points during a tour of the facility, stated that the attention of the management of Shell had been drawn to the development so as to undertake repair and frustrate any attempt by illegal bunkerers to steal oil, but nothing had been done by the company. The media coordinator of the JTF, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu said the tour called ground trotting exercise was in response to the recent positions of the SPDC to issues of alleged inadequate policing of the waterway and the alleged unhindered illegal bunkering along the waterways of the region.

According to him, the exercise involved 11 representatives of the various departments in SPDC, four Senior Military Officers and 24 operatives from JTF and some SPDC surveillance contractors working in the general area. The report of the tour indicated that there is evidence that due to the non-response by Shell to repair the breach points, some illegal bunkerers have attempted to steal crude oil from the point.

The report reads in part 'The ground trotting exercise covered the NCTL passing through Cawthorne Channels 1 and 2, Global Gas Creek, Adamakiri, Money Ground, Creek 6 and Kalaibiama. A total of about 22 breached points which have earlier been identified and reported to SPDC to clamp but were however found unattended to. Some of the old points were supposed to have been clamped but not, they were discovered to have some new illegal hose connections made again.

'The connections were all disconnected by cutting the hoses into pieces. No new breached points were discovered during the exercise. Also, 2 wooden barges containing some crude oil were discovered hidden in a creek near Global Gas Plant during the exercise. The barges were set ablaze in situ. The combined JTF/SPDC ground trotting also covered the Nembe axis of the NCTL.

The JTF team was led by the Sub-Sect 2 Comd, Lt Col Muktar Adamu, while the SPDC team comprised of Mr Johnson Erewa. ' 'The exercise covered from the beginning of the NCTL at Nembe Creek 3 and continued to Nembe Creek 1 - Nembe Creek 4 to Tora manifold. Though no any illegal activity was seen during the exercise, however, 3 illegal loading points earlier reported were confirmed and unclamped. These are: Dasaba 1: Lat N 04 28' 11.94'' Long E 006 26' 1.43''. Dasaba 2: Lat N 04 27' 57.61'' Long E 006 26' 37.88''. Nekakiri Nembe 4: Lat N04 26' 57.68'' Long E 006 23' 43.65''.

'The exercise was concluded with a resolve by all parties to bridge the communication gap existing between them by working together as partners for the common goal of tackling oil theft. SPDC was also once again urged to expedite action in clamping all the identified breached points along the NCTL while the JTF maintains its robust patrols. '

It could be recalled that the Managing Director of Shell, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu had recently raised the alarm over the pipeline vandalism and oil theft being visited on the company's Nembe Creek Trunk Line. He had heaped the blame at the door steps of security operatives whom, he said, had not done enough to police the company's pipelines in the area.