The activities of private security operators in combating crude oil theft in Nigeria are estimated to save Nigeria over $ 43.2 million daily.
One of the private security contractors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Tantita, disclosed this while speaking at the maiden edition of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Annual Lecture in Lagos.
Warredi Enisuoh, executive director of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, said dealers in crude oil theft have planted CCTV cameras in creeks to monitor their illicit activities.
“We have places where grass may not grow for the next 100 years because of crude oil theft and associated activities. In the past, these operators used fire to process crude oil, but they realised that security operators have drones and night vision capabilities to see the fire trails. So, they moved to electricity. When they realised we discovered their illicit activities with electricity, they translated to phosphoric acid. They pour the crude oil into several drums and pour phosphoric acid and wait for six hours for the acid to convert the crude to diesel that will be fetched from the top,” he explained.
Warredi, who is also a former director of Shipping Development at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that having chased most of the perpetrators of crude oil theft away from the land areas, they moved to the creeks to attack oil well heads.
“These transactions usually take place at night as they go to the wellheads with canoes to fetch crude oil without minding the pollution or possibility of fire outbreak. If the pressure isn’t strong enough, they use a reservoir to fetch the oil. Some of these oil connections flow through cassava farms and farm settlements that you wouldn’t suspect to be involved in crude oil theft,” Warredi said.
On the Secure Anchorage Area, Warredi said the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) declared the right of passage on the waters for vessels and that Nigeria is a signatory to that law.
Temisan Omatseye, a former director general of NIMASA, said that since the end of the SAA contract operated by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), foreign vessels have spent an average of $50,000 for security patrols in the country.
Omatseye said OMSL SAA activities created a degree of comfort for global shipowners and filled a lacuna in securing the anchorage area.
He suggested that the Deep Blue Project assets could be deployed to fill the missing role of SAA.
He proposed a Response Zone Transit Corridor concept to create a patrolled transit corridor in the key high-risk areas in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).