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Business News of Wednesday, 11 January 2023


Illegal oil pipeline uncovered in Rivers community

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

An illegal oil connection terminal on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) has been uncovered in the Nonwa Uedume community of Tai local government area, Rivers state.

According to TheCable, the discovery team was led to the site on Monday by Mbakpone Okpe, chairman of Tai LGA, Rivers State. Others present at the site were security operatives of the Nigerian army, officers of the SSS, the Tai local security taskforce and pipeline surveillance contractors.

Speaking to journalists at the site, Mr Okpe said the illegal connection was discovered following a tip-off and called for collaboration between his team and the government.

“This discovery cost me money to get the intel (information) and this access. That does not mean that Shell does not have operators that are doing surveillance for them.

“The federal government also has companies doing surveillance for them. I need to partner with them. I called Shell after I discovered this on their line.

“I wish they would come so that we can jointly collaborate to clamp down on it. It is not only discovering it but also closing it so that it doesn’t recur. Since then, Shell has not come. It is part of the problem I have been having with them,” Mr Okpe said.

He added that there are a lot of bunkering operations going on in some of the communities around the area.

“I cannot risk my resources and my personnel in discovering this, (and) at the end of the day the owners are not coming forward to take responsibility,” he said.

“This thing you are seeing happening here if anybody tells you that the larger number of the population here are not aware of it, it is a lie.

“If you go beyond here to the far end, you will see another spot like this. So, how are we responding to it to ensure that people who are doing this thing will know that there are owners and the owners are protecting their property?’’

Abimbola Essien-Nelson, media relations manager at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), told TheCable that a joint investigation team led by the industry regulator had been sent to visit the illegal connection site for investigation and the company awaits the signed-off report of the JIV.

“The illegal connection point on the SPDC joint venture pipeline is also undergoing repairs,” she said.

“Meanwhile, SPDC seeks the support of stakeholders including community people to report any illegal activities around SPDC joint venture oil installations to SPDC or relevant government agencies.”