By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa‚ÄîShell Petroleum Development Company, has expressed concern over the activities of crude oil thieves and illegal refineries operators in the Niger Delta, saying that the country was losing $1.6bn annually to oil theft.
The company cited its forced shut down of the Nembe Creek Trunklines, NCTL, in Bayelsa State, a facility which produces about 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day and its declaration of force majeure on Bonny Light export.
This, according to the company, was to enable it remove crude oil theft connections, investigate suspected oil theft leaks and effect repairs.
Speaking at a workshop organised for media practitioners in Yenagoa, Shell Manager, Government/Community Relations, Evans Krukrubo,¬† said over 90 per cent of its pipelines in the region had been ruptured by suspected oil thieves.
He noted that the shut down of NCTL production would impact negatively on Bayelsa‚Äôs share from the Federation Account.
Represented by Funkakpo Fufyin, the company said the recent upsurge in illegal refining business in the Niger Delta should be a major concern to all stakeholders.
He said: ‚ÄúWe are not worried by the money lost by Shell, but the harm and destruction unleashed on the environment.‚Äù He blamed most of the spills in the region on crude oil thieves and illegal refinery operators, when compared to operational failures.
He¬† cited Bodo, in Rivers State, Imo River, NCTL and offshore of the Niger Delta as areas¬† identified as major hotspots for oil bunkering and sabotage.
Krukrubo called on security agencies and state government to assist the firm in curbing the activities of oil thieves and illegal refinery operators.