Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, PINL, says it has discovered and destroyed about 35 clusters of illegal oil bunkering and refining points in parts of the Niger Delta areas covering zone 3, in Owaza, Odogwa, Ishimiri and Kom Kom Communities.
Operations Manager, Pipeline Infrastructure of the company,
Engr. Joshua Ogundele disclosed this to newsmen at the creeks off the Imo River on the OML 11 (eleven) acreage operated by NEPL (NNPC, Exploration & Production Limited, the exploration and production arm of the NNPC), categorised as zone 3 of the Eastern corridors.
Security and technical team from the company were on ground to destroy some illegal oil refining camps and tools, especially storage facilities popularly called ‘pots’ among along the axis of Nkali flowstation, and illegal connections on the twin 12-inch delivery lines spanning 27km from Imo II manifold in Imo state through parts of Owaza in Abia state to Ogale manifold in Rivers State.
At one of the sites visited, the team including pipeline surveillance guards and government security agents destroyed a metal storage tank of over 85,000 liters deep into the raffia palm forest off the Imo River.
According to Engr. Joshua Ogundele, “We are here to ensure the total removal of all tap points including OML 17 which spans 5km from Nkali flow station to Imo 2 manifold.
“As you can see, this is a big drum, which is approximately 85,000 liters capacity and we are here to ensure total destruction of this illegal refineries which we have spotted in this area”.
He explained that the exercise was an ongoing one saying “this tank was discovered and we commenced destruction that on Thursday”.
“The entire Zone 3 axis covers Odogwa, Ishimiri, Komkom and Owaza. This Owaza has 3 Islands which makes it one of the most difficult terrain in this our activities because we have to go through the waterways on accessing them and one of the challenges is that due to time constraints, when we demobilise for the day, before we return the following day they would have come back and push some of these ‘pots’ (illegal refining containers into the water.
“So, there are so many illegal refineries around the area which we have destroyed and are still destroying”.
Furthermore, Engr. Ogundele said; “Currently, what I can tell you, most of these illegal refineries are in clusters. It’s not something like you find just one, you have them in clusters and in a particular cluster you can have more than 15 illegal refineries in one particular location and currently. We have destroyed over 35 clusters of illegal refineries so far.
“Since we took over the contract, the aim of PINL is to ensure that all illegal refineries are discovered and destroyed”, he stressed.
He commended the host communities for their support, attributing their successes in discovering the illegal refineries to engagement of community surveillance.
“Like I said that PINL has successfully destroyed illegal refineries blocking the delivery line of over 35 clusters, we however discovered that these vandals are migrating to the well heads areas and we have in like manner ensured that the well head areas and flow lines are being monitored 24/7 and that is why we have this synergy with government security forces, the host communities and even our own technical team to ensure that wherever they are migrating to we ensure we put an end to all their illegal activities”.
Another company source said, “We are here to continue with the ‘Zero IR’ (Zero Illegal Refineries) campaign, complete destruction and eradication of all identified IRs and to also ensure that this illegal activities of crude oil theft is discouraged by all means necessary via community engagement, daily patrolling and deployment of security and personnel coupled with the unflinching support of the Government Security Agencies (GSAs).”