The oil company asked the JTF and other security operatives to be more forthcoming in their duties.
The company said the two suspects are staff of some community based contractors who work on Shell’s behalf. Shell said it has about 600 of such community contractors who on their own employ about nine thousand community members.
“Without prejudice to the ongoing investigation, we can confirm that the arrested persons are not employees of SPDC.
“There are indications from the Investigation that the arrested persons are employees of one of the several community based contractors who undertake pipeline surveillance work on SPDC’s behalf in the Niger Delta,” Shell’s spokesperson, Precious Okolobo, said in a statement on Thursday.
The Joint Task Force, in a statement to reporters, said it arrested the suspects while they were tapping crude from a Shell pipeline in Rivers State. The Force said the two arrested men were “working for SPDC as surveillance officers were arrested at the scene.”
However, Mr. Okolobo said shell is “deeply concerned by recent reports in the media which wrongly stated that two of its staff were arrested by government security forces for alleged involvement in crude theft.”
“We are equally concerned about allegations credited to government security agencies that SPDC’s failure to repair identified bunkering points is frustrating their bid to combat oil theft,” the spokesperson said.
Speaking on the allegation that the company has failed to recognize and carry out repairs on various bunkering points, Mr. Okolobo said, “By October 2012 SPDC had already removed 135 illegal connections for oil theft, of which 96 were causing spills and 39 were removed as a precaution against both spills and further oil theft.”
“These are complex jobs, during which production is shut in and the affected line isolated and depressurized to allow safe working conditions, SPDC nevertheless continues its repair program as diligently as possible,” he added.
The company assured of its patriotism in fighting and eliminating crude oil theft and its effects, as well as working in accordance with the law.
“SPDC’s position remains that to effectively combat the menace of crude theft requires improved security patrols by the relevant security agencies and anyone found culpable of involvement in illegal activities like crude theft, which devastate the environment and deprive the country of resources, should be held accountable in accordance with the law,” Mr. Okolobo said.