Navy uncovers 2.7m capacity illegal refinery in Rivers

*The Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Desmond Igbo, briefing newsmen at Bokokiri swamp in Degema LGA.

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, has uncovered 15 illegal refining camps made up of six refineries each, with the capacity to refine 2.7million litres of crude oil in Bokokiri, Ke community, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Dismantling the illegal refineries, the Naval Commander, NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Desmond Igbo, explained each of the camps has up to six cooking pots and ovens that contain over 33,000 litres of crude oil products.

Igbo explained that the illegal oil refiners and economic saboteurs clandestinely chose the location, deep inside the creeks, using pipes to siphon crude oil from wellheads to some kilometers inside the mangrove swamps, where they cannot be spotted easily.

*One of the illegal artisanal refining camps.

He added that the operation was part of Operation Delta Sanity, an onslaught on economic saboteurs in accordance with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla’s directives to ensure oil theft is brought to the barest minimum.

He said, “We are at an illegal refining site where the illegally refined petroleum products are being stolen from the pipes and wellheads tapped. This is an act of economic sabotage.

“Here is Bokokiri in Ke community, Degema LGA of Rivers State. Here we have 15 camps and each of these camps has not less than six refineries with each crude cooking pots containing over 30,000 litres of crude oil.

“The volume of operation in each camp is much, this means that we have 30,000 litres for each pot, multiply that by six and then multiply by 15, which is 2.7 million litres of crude oil.

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“This is where Nigeria derives its revenue, but some unscrupulous citizens are engaged in this act of economic sabotage. This is not good for our country’s economy. The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla has mandated us to ensure that oil theft becomes a history in Nigeria.”

The NNS Pathfinder boss further said apart from using kinetic approach to dissuade oil thieves, the Navy was also using non-kinetic approach, explaining that he had engaged community stakeholders and conducted sensitization to educate community members on the implications of economic sabotage.

He added that although no arrest was yet to be made at the 15 illegal refining camps, NNS Pathfinder had made arrests at different operations and had handed them to prosecuting agencies.

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