Shell is probing NNPC’s discovery of an illegal connection to its Trans-Escravos pipeline carrying oil into the sea. The oil major stated it is investigating whether the illegal pipeline carried stolen crude as alleged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, said last week that through security surveillance, the state-owned corporation had uncovered an illegal connection linking Shell’s Trans-Escravos pipeline to a four kilometers theft test line running into the sea to another facility operated by the oil major and had been functional for nine years.
Kyari said, “in the course of the clampdown within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been deactivated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1,561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized,” he said.
“The most striking of all is the four-kilometer illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for nine solid years,” he added.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the company spokesman for Shell’s local subsidiary said in an email on Tuesday it “detected” the illegal connections on its pipeline in the crude-rich Niger Delta during “regular surveillance activities.” The producer is “conducting an investigation to establish where the theft lines end and whether there have been any breaches of the unmanned platform’s security barriers — locks etc. — or any unauthorized use of the equipment on it.”
Investigations showed that an illegal connection was attached to the Trans-Escravos pipeline and joined to the 4km Afremo test line used in diverting crude oil. According to Kyari, “the test line between Afremo A and the coast should never channel any crude oil.”
Nigeria’s oil sector has been plagued by militants and serious oil theft. This Afremo test line is only one of the illegal connection lines used in siphoning the country’s resources.
The NNPC had contracted private security firms as it works towards puting an end to the rampant crude theft that has been the reason for the clampdown in Nigeria’s oil production. One of the security companies is Tantita, by a former militant leader known as Tompolo.