The Nigerian Navy has urged the Federal Government to sensitize oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta on the dangers of oil bunkering and its variants to the environment.
The appeal was made on Friday in Warri, Delta State by Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS DELTA),Commodore Ibrahim Dewu.
Dewu made the appeal on the heels of the destruction of an abandoned well head at Uobodede community in Warri South Local Government Area.
He said it took a great effort of some contracted engineers to disconnect a pipe that was illegally connected to abandoned well head.
The naval boss therefore called on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to constantly monitor their abandoned “well heads” to checkmate oil theft.
He said his men had challenges in stopping the illegally tapped abandoned well heads, saying that it need experts with the right equipment and know-how to be able to stop the flow, seal and remove the pipes.
The commander also suggested that the well heads could be blocked deep down where the criminals will find it difficult to have access to tap the crude oil.
“Our call on the oil companies is to assist in monitoring these abandoned well heads, since they are aware of them and know where they are.”
They can also block them deep down to the point where they cannot be tapped.
It is a challenge to us stopping these illegally tapped abandoned well heads whenever we discover them.
We always need experts with equipment to be able to stop the flow, seal and remove the pipe,” he said.
Dewu disclosed that the navy got intelligence report that some criminals had connected pipe to an abandoned well head in Uobodede community to siphon crude oil into underground tanks.
According to him, the pipe was buried underneath, running through several kilometres to where they had their storage tanks and pits.
Reiterating the ingenuity of the perpetrators, Dewu said, “They stored the stolen crude on the tanks and pits which they use for illegal refining.”
They have also set several other pipes with which they pass the illegal refined AGO to the boats waiting at the waterfront to be loaded.
We went with engineers to disconnect the pipe that was connected to the well head before we destroyed the storage pits and the refineries.”
The unrepentant stance of illegal oil bunkering, it will be recalled, had made Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to pledge during his fact-finding visit to Bayelsa during the week of the FG’s readiness to approve the operation of modular refineries in the region.