Nigeria's NNPC Destroys Dozens of Illicit Refineries, Oil Pipeline Connections

(Reuters) — Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC has successfully dismantled dozens of illicit refineries and unauthorized pipeline connections as part of ongoing efforts to curb theft in the oil-rich Niger River delta, it said on Tuesday.

Large-scale oil theft from pipelines and wells has hobbled the country's output and crimped exports in recent years, crippling Nigeria's finances and leaving President Bola Tinubu with one of his biggest challenges.

In the week through Aug 11, at least 53 illegal refineries were discovered in the southern oil-producing Rivers, Bayelsa and Imo states. Also found were 35 illegal pipeline connections, which are being repaired.

Eight incidents of pipeline vandalism causing oil spills were reported. In total, 144 incidents were recorded during the period.

"The war on crude oil theft is on and the industry-wide security collaboration continues to record remarkable progress," the company said in a video posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

"There is no backing down on the war on crude oil theft until the menace is eradicated for good," it said.

NNPC said 11 vessels were flagged for Automatic Identification System (AIS) violations and were reported to the Navy. Last month, it intercepted an 800,000-liter (211,338-gallon) vessel carrying stolen crude while heading to Cameroon.

Nigeria lost more than $2 billion to oil theft during the first eight months of last year, an investigation by the country's Senate found.

Oil theft and pipeline sabotage are common in the southern oil production heartland of Nigeria, Africa's top crude producer. Hot tapping, the method used to steal oil, often results in accidents that cause spillages or fires.

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