OPERATIVES of Tantita Security Services Limited, the surveillance outfit of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, have discovered major tapping points on the Trans-Forcados/Ramos Pipeline in Delta State, through which International Oil Companies, security officials, oil bunkerers, and locals have colluded to bleed the country, over the years.
Tompolo discovered the breaches after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, awarded him a pipeline surveillance contract, but he took time to investigate to find out those perpetrating the act.
His preliminary findings are top-secret information for the Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, General Lucky Irabor, and Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Alhaji Mele Kyari, both of who flew in from Abuja to Delta state to inspect the several violations.
NNPCL and security officials counted 16 breaches on the pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, at Yokri community and environs in Delta state.
The pipeline runs from Otumara and ends at Forcados Terminal, but oil thieves, oil companies, and security officials had been siphoning crude oil from the line for a long time.
General Irabor, who spoke to reporters after inspecting the breaches, vowed that the Ministry of Defence would not leave any stone unturned in fishing out the culprits.
He said the ministry would carry out an investigation on the entire stretch to find out those involved, “and how long it has been among other issues.”
Also speaking to reporters, NNPCL boss, Kyari, said, “First, the attachments on our Trans- Forcados/Ramos pipeline, which are illegal connections, were professionally done.”
And the result is that they connected it to an inner case line which will never carry crude under normal circumstances and we have seen that this line flow all the way parallel with the other two active lines into the Forcados platform.”
On the next line of action, he asserted, “The CDS has said clearly that he would investigate, and anyone involved in this process, whether from the community members, community contractors, government security agencies, workers of the oil companies, including NNPCL and Shell will be dealt with.”
He acknowledged that the company was getting massive support from security agencies and other stakeholders in the campaign to stop illegal oil bunkering.
A top official of Tantita Security Services, Engr. Ketson Pondi, who spoke on the discovery, said: “We are at the Trans- Forcados/Ramos pipeline at Yokri Flow Station, the breaches occurred at different locations on the trans-Forcados/Ramos pipeline.
“Our operation has been on for six weeks and within this period, we have discovered 16 breaches. Of the 16 that we have excavated, we have intelligence on two that are further from where we are coming from and we are still excavating.
“We will follow the pipeline until we get to Ogidigben and Madangho communities. Therefore, only God knows how many breaches we are going to see as we proceed further. At this moment, we have discovered 16 points of breaches.
“Many people are complicit in this illegal oil activities, whether it is in the security sector, community sector, even in the oil industry, that is why Tompolo is coming in.
“If you know that you have been involved and nobody is doing anything, this is the time for you to evacuate. If you do not stop, the laws protecting,” he said.
Tantita operatives started their scrutiny on the pipeline from somewhere in Obotobo community, about a week and five days ago, and also found some illegal refineries, which they reported to the authorities to destroy.
“The pipeline is being terribly tapped, we have arrested nobody, and what we are doing now is to check the pipeline, if we discover illegal refineries, we report to the authorities for them to destroy them. If we also discover tapping as we have done now, we will also report it to the authorities.
“However, if we discover people doing illegal business and apprehend them, we will hand them over to the authorities, but from all indications, it is difficult to arrest those doing tapping, you can only do it with special intel. But having reported to the authorities, they will take their decision and possibly make an arrest.
“So far, we have checked about 50 percent of the pipeline but our responsibility is very clear, as we trot the line, we also make sure we put our security personnel on the line. Tantita Security Services provide intelligence and surveillance and we interface between the communities and the oil companies that have locations on the line.
“All lines are valves, when you put people on the line, it means that nobody should come to the place to open the valve to steal oil. With what we have discovered now, the operators, in this case, SPDC, has to come and clamp the line. Until they do that, our people will be there to ensure that nobody opens any valve to steal crude oil around that place,” a company official added.
Culled from the Vanguard