Nigeria discovers dozens illegal oil refineries stealing government profits

The Nigerian military said on Thursday it destroyed 39 illicit oil refineries during the last two weeks. Large quantities of stolen oil were recovered along with the vehicles and weapons that the thieves used.

Nigeria is plagued by oil theft. The pipelines traverse large areas of land that are remote and where bandits may work unassisted. In October, Nigeria’s state oil company NNPC DiscoveredA sophisticated pirate pipeline, over 2 1/2 miles in length and parasitically connected to an underwater export terminal. NNPC claimed that another pipeline had 295 illegal taps, sucking the bulk of its oil.

According to the NNPC, something like a third of Nigeria’s oil was stolen last year, costing the government $10 billion and leaving it without enough revenue to service its debt.

It Premium Times Nigerians reported the following:

Major General Danmadami stated that troops engaged in Operation Octopus Grip, along with other operations, destroyed 48 cooking ovens as well as 103 storage tanks. There were also 27 pits for digging and 33 wooden boats.

The troops recovered a tug boat and a barge as well as three pumps, three-speed vessels, and three more machines.

He said that troops had recovered 71,000 liters Automotive Gas Oil and 274,000 liters crude oil. Forty-eight economic saboteurs were also arrested.

Danmadami claimed that crews from the air were looking for oil pipelines in the vicinity. “makeshift tents”The thieves used the stolen information to hide their refineries and taps, calling for ground troops to arrest them. One incident saw him claiming that military personnel opened fire upon a pirate crew. “and the locations were observed to have exploded in an inferno”As illegal refining and munitions were destroyed.

FILE- This Tuesday, May. 26 May 2015, file photo: A man fills fuel containers at Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation petrol station, Abuja Nigeria. Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. claims it has lost 267billion naira ($1.3billion) during 2015, even though it tried to produce more oil in order to meet falling global prices. The corporation’s monthly report posted at its website Thursday , Feb. 4, 2016 shows the biggest losses recorded at its headquarters, by three refineries and a subsidiary that sources and distributes refined products. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba file)

The government’s RepressionThe investigation into oil theft was launched in October with encouraging arrests and the closing of illegal taps. 

Nigerian army controversially appointed a former oil thief called Government Ekpemupolo as its chief operating officer. He believed his extensive knowledge of pirate gangs’ tactics would aid them in their pursuit of his ex-comrades. Ekpemupolo uses the name “Tompolo,”The biggest problem was the fact that corrupt military officers and oil companies were conspiring to protect the criminals from prosecution and steal oil. 

Some of these are: The oil thievesSome are profiteering criminal gangs and others are fighting revolutionary feudals. Others are poor local residents that feel unjustly compensated for crude oil taken from ancestral lands. Citizen thieves are more comfortable using terms like “artisanal oil bunkering”For their work. 

The mom and pop pipeline taps in Nigeria are among the worst, most dangerous and environmental damaging. The environmental fallout from oil theft is exacerbated by the often poor condition of Nigeria’s badly-designed and indifferently-maintained official pipelines.

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