The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and its security partners have arrested six suspected oil vandals with 700 barrels of illegally extracted crude oil in Delta State.
NNPC in a statement on Sunday said the arrest of the suspects was yet another key milestone in the ongoing fight against crude oil theft.
According to the statement, NNPC and its partners, Tantita Security Services, arrested the andals and seized the barge laden with 700 barrels of crude oil in Opete in Udu LGA.
Captain Warredi Ensuoh, Executive Director, Operations and Technical of Tantita Security Services, while addressing newsmen, said the operation was conducted by a combined team of security agencies acting on intelligence.
The security team discovered a jetty belonging to Mawe Services Limited in Opete which illegally used its facilities to transfer the illegal crude to another of its facilities serving as a depot.
NNPC said the six suspects were being detained by the security agencies while the barge used had been safely destroyed.
The latest report by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the weekend showed that Nigeria’s crude oil production has dropped significantly to less than a million-barrel per day, paving the way for Angola to lead Africa in production figures in April, 2023.
At 999,000bpd in April, Nigeria lost 270,000bpd of oil production compared to its 1.268mbpd production figure in March, the OPEC data revealed.
NNPC has continually said it was battling oil theft in the Niger Delta, stating that the menace reduced due to the battle intensity to boost production to 1.5m bpd from December, 2022, after production fell to about 0.9mbpd in August, 2022.
However, the oil theft menace lurks based on the fresh arrest, as well as the drop in the latest production figure.