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NNPCL uncovers surge in illegal pipeline activities: Tugboat intercepted in Rivers state



NNPCL's fight against crude oil theft: Tugboat intercepted in Rivers State

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) announced that a tugboat suspected of transporting illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) was intercepted by operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited.

The tugboat, escorted by a marine police boat in Rivers State, was apprehended by the security outfit. Currently, five individuals aboard the vessel are undergoing interrogation by Tantita.

Tantita, based in Warri, Nigeria, specializes in providing security solutions for the oil and gas sector.

In a documentary released by NNPCL, the company highlighted its efforts to combat crude oil theft and revealed that it recorded 155 incidents of oil theft within one week.

The arrest occurred on Monday, April 1, 2024, when Tantita Security Services team on patrol pursued and captured the tugboat named Aya Oba Olori II in Rivers State.

Loaded with an unspecified amount of suspected illegally refined AGO, the tugboat was loaded from a barge at Onne dock on March 31. The five individuals onboard are currently being questioned by Tantita.

During the week, NNPCL uncovered 53 illegal pipeline connections and 36 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region. The incidents were recorded across several locations, including Bayelsa, Rivers, and Delta states.

The incidents included 53 illegal connections, 36 illegal refineries, 32 wooden fibre boats, 14 pipeline vandalism cases, eight vessel infractions, and four oil spills. Additionally, seven vehicles and one vessel were apprehended.

Sources of these incidents included the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Tantita Security Services Ltd, NNPCL Command and Control Centre, Shell Petroleum Development Company, and NNPCL 18 Operating Ltd, among others.

In the past week, 32 wooden boats conveying stolen crude and illegally refined products were seized and confiscated in Rivers and Delta states. Furthermore, seven vehicles loaded with stolen crude were apprehended in Imo, Delta, and Rivers states.

In Abia State, NNPCL discovered clusters of illegal refineries, totaling 36 across several locations in Rivers and Abia states.

NNPCL also recorded four cases of oil spills due to activities of vandals, with oil leaks from a wellhead in Rivers State causing damage to aquatic life.

In total, 38 suspects were arrested during the week under review, demonstrating NNPCL’s commitment to combating crude oil theft until the menace is eradicated.

The issue of crude oil theft has significant economic implications for Nigeria, with trillions of naira lost to such activities. This has prompted some international oil companies to divest from onshore to deep offshore oil fields or exit the country entirely.

In November 2023, the Federal Government revealed that over N4.3 trillion worth of crude oil was stolen in 7,143 pipeline vandalism cases within five years.

During a Nigeria International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative disclosed that oil theft and losses had become a national emergency, threatening oil exploration and exploitation and negatively impacting economic growth and oil companies’ profit earnings.

NEITI reports revealed that Nigeria spent N471.493 billion on repairing or maintaining pipelines during the same period.


Lawrence is a dynamic digital journalist known for his expertise in creating SEO-focused content that drives business success. Alongside his journalism career, he also serves as an AI tutor, leveraging his knowledge to educate and empower others in the field. Lawrence graduated from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic with an HND in Mass Communication and has had his work referenced in Wikipedia and various online media outlets.