Security Forces In Nigeria’s Oil Region Seize Stolen Petroleum Products Worth Over 1.2 Billion Naira

The Nigerian military says security forces have destroyed 67 illegal refineries and seized illicit petroleum products in weeks of operations in the troubled oil region in southern Nigeria.

Security forces conducting operations in Nigeria’s Delta region have seized stolen oil products worth more than ₦1.2 billion and destroyed 67 illegal refineries within the past few weeks, according to the country’s military headquarters.

Soldiers discovered and destroyed 67 illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 218 storage tanks, 168 cooking ovens, and 61 dugout pits, said the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami. 

The Army General also revealed that operations between Aug. 25th and Sept. 8th in Bayelsa and Rivers States led to the seizure of over 2 million litres of crude oil and other petroleum products valued at ₦1,235,624,462.

Nigeria is wrestling to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota of over 1.8 million barrels per day, with Oil production in August hitting an all-time low, as output averaged 972,394 barrels per day.

Last month, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, lamented the impact of theft of petroleum products during a briefing in the capital, Abuja.

Kyari also said that authorities had destroyed 959 metal storage tanks, 737 ovens, 452 dug-out pits, 355 cooking pots, and 179 wooden boats between April and August. 

He added that 11 vessels, 30 speed boats, 37 trucks and cars were impounded. In addition to the recovery of 35.8 million litres of the stolen crude oil, 22 million litres of diesel, 0.15 million litres of petrol, and 0.76 million litres of kerosene were also discovered.

A recent report from Nigerian news outlet Premium Times disclosed that between January and July,  the country lost an average of 437,000 barrels of oil daily to criminal entities and individuals who illicitly tap pipelines onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta region. 

HumAngle, in a May report, detailed the effects of air pollution and severe environmental damage caused by illegal oil refining in Rivers State. It also highlighted the impacts of the problematic approach used by security forces to destroy illegal oil refineries and products. 

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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