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Oil vandals getting more sophisticated

Crude oil vandals in the Niger Delta are said to be upgrading their tactics in order to remain a step ahead of security agencies, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has said.

Disclosing this at a media workshop on Pipelines Right of Way held in Ekpan, Uvwie council area of Delta State, the company noted that the effects of these illegal activities on Nigeria’s economy, as well as the environment, call for collaboration among stakeholders.

General Manager, Igo Weli announced that the company now has in place high definition aerial cameras to facilitate detection, quick response to crude oil mishaps and track  vandals across its assets in the region.

Weli who was represented at the event, said, “The thieves are getting more ingenious in their theft menace each day. Some just go and cut our pipelines into pieces just to sell the steel without looking at the consequences to their lives in case of an explosion or spill to the environment.

“They have devised all manner of methods just to steal the oil. Sometimes they just bring in a large vessel and connect it directly to the pipeline and siphon crude from it.”

He added that the high definition air “cameras are attached to specialised helicopters which carry out daily overflight on our facilities. This measure has improved the surveillance of our joint venture assets.”

Emphasising that the loss of a barrel of crude is a loss to the nation, he explained that 55 percent of the business goes as revenue to the federal government to provide Nigeria’s needs.

He also pointed out that the Niger Delta states are “dependent,” on the 13 percent derivation from the petroleum industry, hence the effect of sabotaging oil installations will trickle down to the grassroots.