NPDC, FHN Lose $29m Crude To Oil Theft
An oil block, Oil Mining Lease 26, jointly owned by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company and First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited has come under attacks by oil thieves, the technical partner has said.
The Asset Management Team for OML 26 said about 450,000 barrels of crude oil was stolen between June and September this year, translating to about $29m (using an average price of $65 per barrel).
The NPDC, an upstream subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, owns 55 per cent stake in OML 26 while FHN, a privately owned firm, has 45 per cent equity in the asset.
The block is located in Delta State and has two oil-producing fields, namely Ogini and Isoko.
The Manager, Government, Security and Community Affairs, NPDC/FHN OML 26 Asset Management Team, Mr Blessing Ogbowo, said crude oil was being stolen from the pipeline and taken to illegal refineries located in the forest.
“This high level of stealing started in June. When they started, they started from about 500 barrels a day to 800 barrels; they increased to 1,000-1,500 barrels. As at end of September, we were losing 5,400 barrels every day. So if you calculate it over time, we have lost well over 400,000 to 450,000 barrels of crude within three months,” he said.
He said last week’s raid and demolition of illegal refineries in Agbarha-Otor by the AMT was the second in recent times.
He said the team had on October 2 visited Agbarha-Otor to remove a three-inch pipe that was connected to OML 26 pipeline by the thieves.
“This line comes from our flow station at Ozoro. It is 29 kilometres from our flow station to the LACT Unit where we offload into the major trunk line that goes to the Trans Forcados Pipeline. So, it is in-between the 29 kilometres that they have these tapping points and steal our crude,” Ogbowo added.
He said the AMT had been working closely with the soldiers at the 222 Battalion Headquarters in the community, adding, “They support us and we have over 40 soldiers that are in our operations and support our operations.
“We have contractors who are doing surveillance work on this line and the company is paying them, and their main job is to ensure that nothing happens to this line, and to inform us if they see anything. We have now decided to terminate the surveillance contract because of the level of stealing here. We said we cannot continue to pay you when the job you are doing for us is suffering.”
Ogbowo said the police and the soldiers had made several arrests, adding that some illegal refineries had been destroyed in the past.
He said, “Because it is a cartel and a syndicated criminal operation, as soon as you finish the destruction of the refineries, they will go and mobilise, reinforce and begin to build again. The terrain is marshy and swampy, so it is not a place you go to every day but they have mastered the art.
“For instance, we destroyed seven the last time and the security agencies in Isioko North Local Government told us that they have information that the thieves were building another 16 new illegal refineries. We want this thing to be really exposed because the economy of this country is bleeding. Until the federal and state governments come to our rescue, we may not be able to fight this fight all by ourselves.”