The executive director of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Warredi Enisuoh, stated during the inaugural Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Annual Lecture in Lagos that private security companies’ efforts to prevent crude oil theft in Nigeria are thought to save the country more than $43.2 million every day. Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited Is one of the private security contractors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Oil theft in Nigeria has become a major concern both locally and internationally. This illicit activity involves the illegal tapping and siphoning of oil from pipelines, refineries, and other oil facilities distributed across the country. Nigeria, being one of the largest oil-producing nations in Africa, has suffered significant economic losses due to this rampant theft. The impact is not only felt in terms of revenue loss but also in terms of environmental degradation, social unrest, and hindered development.
Enisuoh, who is also a former director of Shipping Development at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that having chased most of the perpetrators of crude oil theft away from the land areas, they moved to the creeks to attack oil well heads.
“We have places where grass may not grow for the next 100 years because of crude oil theft and associated activities. In the past, these operators used fire to process crude oil, but they realized that security operators have drones and night vision capabilities to see the fire trails. So, they moved to electricity. When they realized we discovered their illicit activities with electricity, they translated to phosphoric acid. They pour the crude oil into several drums and pour phosphoric acid and wait for six hours for the acid to convert the crude to diesel that will be fetched from the top,” he explained.
NNPCL records 149 oil theft cases in one week
Contrary to Enisuoh assertion , the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited recently said it recorded 149 incidents of crude oil theft across the Niger Delta in one week. In a statement, the Company said in one of the incidents, an oil bunkering site was uncovered in Osuobodo between two ANTAN flow stations south of Oguta naval base in Imo state.
It stated, “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.