Nigerian Navy Uncovers 15 Illegal Oil Refining Sites in Rivers State
In a significant operation led by personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder as part of Operation Delta Sanity, fifteen camps engaging in illegal oil refining activities were discovered in Rivers State. The operation, conducted in the Bokokiri creek area of Ke Community in Degema Council, revealed the extensive scale of clandestine oil refining operations.
Commander of NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Desmond Igbo, disclosed that each camp was equipped with up to six cooking pots and ovens containing over 30,000 liters of crude oil products. The economic saboteurs strategically selected remote locations within the creeks, using hoses to tap oil wellheads and siphoning crude oil through pipes to evade detection.
Commodore Igbo emphasized the gravity of oil theft and its detrimental impact on Nigeria’s economy, highlighting the directive from Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to eradicate oil theft. He condemned the illicit activities as acts of stealing, underscoring the Navy’s commitment to combatting economic sabotage.
The operation uncovered a staggering volume of illegal refining activity, estimating a total production capacity of over 2.7 million liters of crude oil across the fifteen camps. Despite the absence of arrests during the operation, Commodore Igbo assured ongoing efforts to apprehend perpetrators and hold them accountable through legal proceedings.
In addition to employing kinetic approaches to deter oil thieves, NNS Pathfinder has engaged in non-kinetic strategies, including community engagement and awareness campaigns. By collaborating with stakeholders and educating community members on the consequences of economic sabotage, the Navy aims to address the root causes of illegal refining activities.
While the discovery of illegal oil refining sites underscores the persistence of illicit practices in the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Navy’s proactive measures signal a resolute commitment to safeguarding national resources and promoting law and order in the maritime domain.