OML 17: FG vows to fish out oil thieves

OML 17: FG vows to fish out oil thieves

The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps on Tuesday said it was working with Heirs Holding Oil and Gas Limited, owners of Oil Mining License 17, to uncover the culprits behind an organised oil theft on the field.

An illegal oil bunkering facility connected to Oil Mining Licence 17 had earlier been uncovered and those behind the oil theft are currently being investigated.

The PUNCH gathered that the investigation was necessitated after the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, on Thursday, uncovered an illegal local refinery at Otamiri-Etche, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.

According to findings, the illegal refinery steals crude from OML17 fields operated by Heirs Holding Oil and Gas Limited.

Giving an update on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the NSCDC in Port Harcourt, Deputy Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, said the investigation was ongoing, adding that Heirs Holding Oil and Gas Limited was working with the corp to unravel the gang behind the theft.

He said, “We cannot ascertain the quantity of the loss at the bunkering facility. If you watch the videos and look at the pictures, you would realise that wells had been dug, they had reservoirs there already, some of the crude had been put inside trucks and containers, and the pipeline of the company had been broken into where they tapped the oil from. But they had not started refining the oil when they were busted.

He said, “The investigation is still ongoing, and we are about to arrest the owner of the land so he can lead us to the person they sold the land to. Heirs has taken over their products already, and they can now put up structures to guard against further theft.”

In 2021, Heirs Holdings acquired 45 per cent of OML 17 from Shell Total and Eni in a transaction worth about $1.1bn.  At the point of acquisition, the field located at the north Port Harcourt produced just 27, 000 barrels per day. However, production rose to 40, 000 barrels per day seven months after the acquisition.

Media source gathered that the NSCDC was able to bust the illegal oil bunkering gang following intelligence reports from local informants.

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