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Nigeria: NNPC, Security Agencies Impound 1,000-Tonne Barge in Fight Against Oil Theft

The collaboration between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), federal security agencies, and Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, owned by Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has again led to the seizure of a 1,000-tonne barge half-filled with stolen crude oil.

This is coming as the Deputy Managing Director, Deepwater Asset, TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI), Mr. Victor Bandele, has expressed appreciation to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, over his intervention that unlocked 30,000 barrels per day of new oil from the Egina and Akpo fields expected before the end of 2023.

Executive Director, Operations and Technical, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, who took journalists to the location of the impounded vessel in the waterways of the Niger Delta yesterday, stated that some service providers were using their licences to perpetrate illegalities.

Warredi stated that after weeks of surveillance, Mawe Services Limited was found to be using its licence as a sludge lifter to ship illegal crude in the vessel identified as FP Amangwu.

He explained that although Mawe Services Limited has an approval from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to provide services within the confines of lifting sludge, it was allegedly involved in crude oil theft.

“However, on this fateful voyage, intelligence reports received two weeks ago by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd and Mason Engineering indicated that the location was being used for activities outside its approval limits.

“Further intelligence also revealed that a 1,000-metric ton capacity barge was coming to berth alongside its jetty, loaded with illegal crude oil declared as sludge.

“The barge was towed by an unknown Tugboat into Mawe Services Limited’s Jetty and left. A team of Tantita Security Services operatives continued to monitor the Jetty for suspicious activities. It was observed that a sewage truck with Plate No. JR7750XA visited the Jetty twice,” he explained.

According to the pipeline surveillance company, during its third visit on May 12, 2023, the truck was accosted by the Tantita Security personnel who were keeping a constant vigil on the area.

“Upon inspection, the substance found inside the tank was not sewage, rather it was crude oil. The driver was arrested and handed over to government security operatives,” Enisuoh said.

He explained that the driver later revealed the destination of the contents, which took its personnel to another yard inland, also operated by Mawe Services Limited.

“Within the Mawe Services Limited’s premises, there were two metallic cylindrical tanks of about 45,000 litres capacity, each. Both tanks were inspected and one was found to be filled up with crude oil. The driver of the truck confirmed that he has been transferring the contents of the barge into the tank that was filled.

“An inspection of the yard’s security logbook showed that the truck visited the location severally and the contents of the truck were well spelt out as crude oil,” he added.

During the operation, four of the six persons who were apprehended both on land and the waterways were paraded before journalists.

Enisuoh stated that hundreds of oil thieves had been arrested since the renewed efforts to rid the country of the menace.

THISDAY learnt that the latest set of suspects was arrested on Thursday night.

It was also learnt that the 1,000-tonne barge, which was later destroyed, was carrying 700 barrels of oil and had not been filled before the suspects were apprehended.

In October last year, the local security group apprehended the captain and seven other crew members of a syndicate who were pumping crude oil from an illegal facility connected to a Chevron pipeline around the Warri River.

In the same month, an illegal line connected to Forcados Terminal in Delta State was discovered.

The illegal pipeline was located in Okuntu Community which is a few metres away from the Forcados crude oil export terminal.

At the last count, Tantita Security Services has discovered over 60 illegal connections to the Trans-Escravos, Trans-Forcados, and other major trunk lines around Delta and Bayelsa states.

How Kyari’s Intervention Unlocked 30,000bpd of Crude from OML 130

Meanwhile, the Deputy Managing Director, Deepwater Asset, TUPNI, Mr. Victor Bandele, has expressed appreciation to the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Kyari, over his intervention that unlocked 30,000 barrels per day of new oil from the Egina and Akpo fields expected before the end of 2023.

Specifically, Bandele thanked Kyari for enabling the deepwater Production Sharing Contract (PSC) to engage the services of Gerry De Souza Drillship to commence the long-due drilling campaign of seven development wells and one exploratory well to arrest production decline on the asset and unlock up to 30,000 barrels.

Bandele said this as a guest at the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS) 2023 Annual Value Assurance Review (AVAR) held in Lagos.

The AVAR is a strategic forum where key issues that shape the oil and gas upstream business landscape are reviewed, and the direction is set with the sole objective of guaranteeing short-term success and long-term value is delivered to all stakeholders.

The NUIMS 2023 AVAR was geared towards consolidating gains for growth in the Production Industry Act era, with a laser focus on the ways NUIMS could better attract and manage capital for sustainable growth by emplacing plans to protect, preserve, and promote NNPC Limited’s upstream business objectives.

The outcomes of AVAR would also serve as relevant input to the ongoing efforts by NUIMS to be well-positioned to attract the required investments into the industry.

Speaking further, Bandele said arresting production decline has helped in generating more value for stakeholders, improve the capacity utilisation of the best-in-class Egina Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessel and ensure the attainment of the desired benefits from the attractive crude oil prices in the market.

Bandele lauded NUIMS for always being a step ahead while pledging the commitment of the OML 130 partners to complete the ongoing drilling campaign, close out the lease renewal discussions, and turn the focus to aggressively executing the Preowei and Egina West projects.

He reiterated his confidence in the leadership of NNPC Ltd and applauded the NUIMS under Mr. Bala Wunti, for always being a step ahead and setting the pace for innovation in the Nigerian upstream oil and gas industry.

The Deputy Managing Director also announced to the gathering that TUPNI has secured the alignment of all the partners on OML 130 to progress with the lease renewal with a target to close out before the end of May 2023.

The lease renewal would pave the way to firm up discussions on the Preowei and Egina West projects lined up by TUPNI and the OML 130 partners to introduce additional volumes to the Egina FPSO, he said.

TUPNI is also on course to hit the milestone of 1 billion barrels of Crude Oil production on the Akpo field within 15.5 years.

He attributed this success to excellent reservoir management and the instrumental role played by NUIMS and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in providing the necessary support.

Bandele, impressed by the objectives of the NUIMS Value Assurance Review, promised to replicate the same in his organisation, and in wrapping up his remarks, he briefly highlighted the remarkable achievement OML 130 has recorded in terms of gas production and monetisation from both the Akpo and Egina fields. Both fields have an outstanding record of zero gas flare.

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