News Oil & Gas

Tantita Security Reveals Devastation of Nembe Creek Trunk Line in Oil Theft Saga

Tantita Security Services in perspective

Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, Media Consultant for Tantita Security Services Nigeria (TSSL), made a startling revelation before the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja at the recent National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. He exposed the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, serving Shell, Aiteo, and Eroton oil companies, as one of the worst-affected routes in the grim annals of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

Detailing the dire situation, Dr. Bebenimibo, also a Mass Communication lecturer at Delta State University, disclosed that the trunk line, stretching from Brass in Bayelsa through Rivers State’s treacherous terrain to Bonny, had been rendered completely dysfunctional.

He recounted how oil thieves brazenly targeted wellheads, jackets, and platforms, siphoning off oil for illegal export or local refining.

Representing High Chief (Dr.) Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, at the event, Dr. Bebenimibo narrated Tantita Security Services Limited’s story to the NUJ, highlighting Tompolo’s vision in establishing the security firm. He emphasized the drastic decline in hydrocarbon investments and production between 2021 and 2022, attributing it to nefarious activities by pipeline vandals and crude oil thieves.

In response to the crisis, the Federal Government sought private security firms’ involvement to safeguard hydrocarbon assets and restore investor confidence. Dr. Bebenimibo underscored the challenges faced by corridor operators like Shell, Total, and Agip, who operated at minimal capacity amidst pervasive insecurity. He described a grim scenario where production stalled, storage facilities overflowed, and entire lines remained dormant due to rampant theft and sabotage.

Dr. Bebenimibo said, “Sometime in between 2021 and 2022, the fall in hydrocarbon investments and production by International Oil Companies fell to an all time low.

“To be precise, production fell from an OPEC quota of 2.2million barrels per day to a mere 700,000 barrels per day due to nefarious factors, mischief makers in the industry, pipeline vandals and crude oil thieves operating without fear right under the nostrils of Government Security Forces positioned to protect the resources.

“The aforementioned activities created one of the most serious revenue losses in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and brought untold hardship and pressure on the country’s foreign exchange earnings and indeed, foreign reserves.”

According to Dr. Bebenimibo, “Faced with this demon, the Federal Government had no choice but to seek the participation of Private Security firms with the expertise to protect the country’s Hydrocarbon Assets, so as to boost not only production, which were now under heavy and constant threat, with some operators recording zero production in some corridors, in addition, restore investor confidence in the sector.

“This led to the signing of the Crude Oil Pipeline Surveillance and Protection Contract on 9th August 2022 with the NNPCL (Nigerian National Petroleum Company Exploration and Production Limited).

“In the indescribably dire situation, the first steps taken by the NNPCL (Nigerian National Petroleum Company Exploration and Production Limited), were for the Private Security firms engaged to be introduced the Corridor Operators such as Shell, Total, Agip, etc.

“We could tell from our first meetings that not only was mistrust heavily encrypted in the hearts of the Corridor Operators, there was a serious lack of confidence in the decision to take on and placing such a huge responsibility on mere Private Security firms.

“Shell for example, was operating at only 30% capacity on some of their lines and even zero at a time they had over 5,000 soldiers embedded with them to protect their Hydrocarbon Assets and Production. In summary, these were difficult times for the Corridor Operators as they were producing mainly for the Pipeline Vandals and Crude Oil thieves.

“While the Trans Escravos Line was operating at its minimal best, other lines such as the Trans Forcados and Trans Ramos Lines were also at the mercy of those hellbent on making sure Nigeria neither produces nor exports any crude oil.

“Other injectors such as Heritage Energy had their Crude Oil stuck in storage facilities operating at maximum capacity so much that they couldn’t produce anymore, due to the fear that everything will be discharged into the collection points of would-be vandals lying in wait 24/7 and 365 days in a year.

“The Nigerian Agip Oil Company had literally shut down production in its land areas as the losses weren’t something to contain or contend with. From Akri in Delta State to Ebocha in Rivers State, Ebocha to Ogoda in Rivers State and Ogoda to Brass in Bayelsa State, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company couldn’t boast of One Litre, of Crude Oil arriving in the Brass Terminal for export.

“The Ognainbiri-Tebidaba line in Bayelsa State was abandoned and the only possible way of getting oil out to the export terminal was through barging whose quantities were unverifiable and open to manipulations.

“The Tuomo to Ognainbiri Condensate line also in Bayelsa State was not spared in the vandals onslaught as it became a haven for thieves and community members strong enough to fetch and sell in various unofficial markets and outlets.

“Addax Oil whom till only recently, have been bought over by Antan Energy operating in the Izombe, Ezi-Ossu to Abacheke areas of Imo State, had their tanks laden with thousands of barrels of Crude Oil for over six years with fear to pump for export as vandals lie in wait to collect it all before the Crude Oil, enters the export lines. In other words, they never exported for over six years,” he noted.

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