The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCD) has discovered an illegal local refinery at Otamiri-Etche, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, which steals crude from OML17 fields operated by Heirs Holding Oil and Gas Limited.
Speaking, the NSCDC Commandant in Rivers State, Michael Besong Ogar, lamented that the Command for the first time was witnessing a new strategy of operations by illegal oil thieves.
Ogar explained that but for the eagle eye of the Command and the sustained intelligence gathered from informants, it would have been difficult unraveling the illegal oil bunkering activities ongoing in such a remote part of the town.
The NSCDC boss in Rivers State disclosed that investigation was already ongoing to unravel the owners and sponsors of such a gigantic illegal refinery in the area, and also warned oil thieves and operators of local refineries in the State to either relocate or face the full wrath of the law.
He added that Heirs Holding Oil and Gas Limited will be notified to extract the crude oil back, while the Corps’ Intelligence and Antivandal Squads will continue to chase the perpetrators till they are brought into custody and charged to Court.
“I must confess that this is the first time of witnessing a well fabricated illegal refinery with such a wide range of pipes laid across the area, as you can see how big the land is, you can also imagine how unscrupulous people can be despite the continuous fight against illegal dealings in petroleum products.
“We were able to uncover this illegal bunkering site based on sustained intelligence, the perpetrators tapped into Heir Holding Oil and Gas facility through the pipeline bulk delivery and syphoned crude oil through carefully constructed pipes to their illegal local refinery.
“We have commenced intense investigation into the matter, someone must have given out this expanse of land to the thieves and through the owner of the land we will unravel the mystery behind this economic sabotage.
“The NSCDC has a clear statutory mandate to safeguard critical national assets and Infrastructures across the federation; we will not be deterred or distracted by the activities of oil thieves in the State. Without compromise we will go after them and ensure that the illegal dealings in petroleum products are reduced drastically in order to boost the nation’s economy again.”