Nigeria losses millions of dollars to illegal refining
…as shell shuts 25,000 bpd oil facility in Abia State
Port Harcourt–About 16 illegal refineries have been discovered within Imo River Field of the Shell Petroleum Development Company,AbiaState, causing the company to shut down production of 25, 000 barrels of oil per day since August 28th, 2011.
The action aims at starving the bunkerers of oil product in order to prevent further environmental pollution. The crude oil theft and unprecedented upsurge in illegal bunkering and refining are said to have severely impacted on rivers around Akwete, Abia andRiversStates in South-South and South Eastern part of Nigeria.
Vice President Health Sector and Corporate Affairs Mr. Tony Attah in a statement to newsmen, said “the scale of crude theft in the area was alarming. Aside from revenue loss to government and other stakeholders significant portions of the stolen crude are spilled, blighting large swathes of the ecosystem”.
Imo River Field, according to Attah, “straddles Abia andRiversStatesand has five flowstations, a gas compressor station and several kilometres of pipelines among other facilities. Security forces moved-in two years ago dislodging the thieves and destroying dozens of barges and canoes.
But the criminal activity has recently resumed with crude thieves inflicting hacksaw cuts on pipelines to siphon crude into waiting flotilla of barges and canoes some of which can hold as much as 40, 000 barrels of oil”.
Attah explained that the leadership of Ukwa West Local Government, Abia State House of Assembly members and the department of petroleum resources had been engaged to intervene in the scourge of the illegal bunkering and crude theft.
Biztellers gathered that the large volume barges and “Cotonu Boats” filled with stolen crude oil collected from trunk lines are most times enroute to discharge into ocean going vessels and other high volume crude oil end users.
Scores of rivers inRiversState, particularly in Ogoniland have been polluted by oil in recent times, but most of the spills have been traced to pipeline vandalism, illegal bunkering, refining and sometimes system failure.