To evade security operatives, oil thieves now install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on trees, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) said on Tuesday night.
This was disclosed in a statement by the company.
It also disclosed that in one week, 149 cases of oil theft were documented in the Niger Delta region.
The statement partly read, “In Osuobodo, between two ANTAN flow stations south of Oguta naval base in Imo state, an oil bunkering site was uncovered. Far from the regular, these criminals have taken their activities a notch higher.
“In this camp, CCTV cameras have been installed on trees by the thieves to look out for security operatives. Mortar launchers and defence systems were also mounted by the oil thieves in various locations to eliminate any perceived enemy.
“This discovery was made possible after an invasion by the military following information gathered by an air surveillance carried out by Target Energy, Tantita security services, Operation Delta Safe and the Military in August.”
According to the statement, the thieves were determined to live there and trade their stolen crude.
It noted that the lack of electricity was no excuse to the oil thieves, adding that generators were on standby to keep the camp’s operations afloat.
“Drums of crude oil feeding from an illegal connection, bags used for storing crude and more were discovered on the camp,” the firm stated.
The company noted that between October 14 and 20, 2023, 49 illegal connections were uncovered in Udu and Ogharefe in Delta State, Ohaji Egbema in Imo, Brass in Bayelsa and in Rivers state.
“At this spot in Rivers state, oil thieves drilled a tunnel underneath the tarred road to insert their illegal connection. The aim is to operate undetected. This was planned and carried out by an expert, using a horizontal directional drilling machine.
“16 cases of pipeline vandalism were recorded this week in Azuzu in Bayelsa State and Obodo Omadina and Ogidigbein in Delta State, where a well head was vandalised. In Ozuaku in Abia State, a vandalised pipeline is being repaired.
“10 facilities used for storing stolen crude were uncovered in various locations in the Niger Delta in the past week. In Ekpemu in Delta State, an interesting discovery was made,” NNPCL stated.
More storage facilities, the NNPCL said, were discovered in Ogborode, Ugborodo and Kwale in Delta State, Tomble and Emuoha in Rivers State and Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.
In Ozoro, Umuosonwu and Patani in Delta State, vehicles conveying sacks of crude oil, were arrested and their content confiscated, the firm stated.
It said five vehicle arrests were made between October 14 and 20, 2023, as 18 wooden boats conveying stolen crude were also apprehended this week in Rivers, Delta, and Imo states.
“Nine of these incidents took place in the deep blue water, 23 in the western region , 67 in the central region and 50 in Nigeria’s Eastern Region.
“For NNPC Limited, there is no backing down on the war on crude oil theft, until the menace is eradicated for good,” the company stated.