JTF questions Shell’s claim of increased crude oil theft

JTF says the quantity of oil Shell claims is being stolen is doubtful.

The Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta on Friday said Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, might have given false statistics to support its claim of increased theft of the crude it produces.

Shell complained about increased theft of its crude, which it put at about 60, 000 barrels a day, an amount it described as an all time high; and one that threatens its operations.

The SPDC then threatened to shut its Nembe Trunk Line because of rising incidents of oil theft within its pipeline network in Bayelsa State.

The Managing Director of SPDC, Mutiu Sumonu, on March 4, urged the JTF to step up its activities to reduce oil theft.

But the JTF spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, said in Yenagoa that the outfit is recording significant success in the fight against the illegal activities.

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He said the statistics SPDC gave is suspicious.

“The statistics peddled by SPDC is very doubtful, they should look inwards as their staff possessed the expertise to crack and clamp and not the JTF,” Mr. Nwachukwu said.

He said, “The facts at our disposal are that from January 2013 to date, 260 suspects, eight vessels, nine barges and 90 boats have been arrested.

“We have also destroyed 452 illegal oil refining points. The JTF has not in any way relented in its task of combating oil theft in the region.”

Mr. Nwachukwu said the JTF had adopted a robust strategy in combating oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities at various stages.

He said this include advocacy, enlightenment campaigns, surveillance of oil installations and pipeline network.

“Crude oil theft involved a complex network from the source, where crude is stolen, transported, refined and distributed.

“We recently raided a distribution centre in Yenagoa and destroyed the warehouse, where the products are stored.

“It is a continuous exercise aimed at making crude theft cost-ineffective, thereby, discouraging it,” Mr. Nwachukwu said


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