Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a company owned by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, has discovered another allegedly illegal crude oil pipeline attached to Trans Forcados Export Trunkline through which crude oil was being diverted from a 400,000 barrel per day Forcados pipeline to the high seas for export.
This comes days after an illegal 4km crude oil pipeline belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company was exposed.
The discovery was made about a week ago by operatives of TSSNL through an exclusive intelligence according to Chief Keston Pondi, Managing Director, TSSNL.
The discovered illegal pipeline, on close observation on Saturday by our correspondent, revealed that the illegal line was connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunkline in Burutu Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Curiously, the illegally plugged point is directly located behind a military security post and less than a kilometre to the Forcados Export Terminal in Ogulagha community.
From the point of connection, the illegal pipeline was linked to another abandoned pipeline riser located within the vicinity and owned by AGIP Petroleum Company Limited.
Through the abandoned AGIP facility, the oil thieves have been ferrying condensed crude oil to the sea for loading into thieving ships at midnight for onward movement abroad.
Tribune Online reports that the Forcados Terminal located in Ogulagha has a nameplate capacity to export 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 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.
Enisuoh said: “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 organised 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.
“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.”
Although Captain Enisuoh could not give the accurate volume of crude oil being siphoned for export illegally, he explained how crude was being stolen without the knowledge of the owners.
He said: “The distance from the illegality to this point is about one kilometres and from here to the jacket is about four kilometres.”