Nine illegal refinery sites with a combined total daily production estimated to be more than one million barrels have been uncovered in three communities in Bayelsa State.
The sites were uncovered by operatives of Daven Oil and Security Enterprises, one of the Federal Government pipeline security contractors in Niger Delta in collaboration with the Joint Task Force, JTF, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the media.
The discovery of the sites was carried out under “Operation No More Smoke” embarked upon by Daven Security Enterprises, aimed at eradicating the region of illegal oil bunkering activities.
The illegal refineries commonly called kpofire in local parlance were uncovered in Okordia/Zarama/Biseni in Yenagoa LGA and the boundary communities of Ibelebiri and Otuege(Agba) in Ogbia LGA of the state.
Speaking to newsmen, weekend, at one of the busted illegal refinery sites located 8 kilometres inside the swamp forest of Zarama Clan, spokesman and Mobilization Officer of Daven Oil and Security Enterprises, Okardi Yogo, said a total number of nine sites had so far been uncovered during the operation.
Yogo said: “This is a baby operation, Daven Oil and Security Limited is one of the pipelines surveillance security taking charge of a section of the Niger Delta. We are here kick-starting the ‘Operations No More Smoke’, we are on discovery sessions, which have yielded good results.
“Based on intelligence reports and support from our grand patron, General Amagbein Boro, we were able to uncover sites with about 15 oven (tanks) with a capacity of 450,000 litres daily production in Okordia/Zarama/Biseni in Yenagoa council.
“We had difficulty accessing the sites because they are tucked away about eight kilometres across the Taylor Creek in the swamp forest. We trekked for more than three hours before we got to the locations. We also discovered that the operators were tapping (sourcing) their production from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, pipelines in the area.
“We have also visited sites in Ibelebiri and Agba communities in Ogbia council of Bayelsa State and we have also uncovered in these areas, many tanks been constructed by illegal refineries operators with production capacity of more than 500,000 barrels per day, and one of the standouts of that operation was the visible environmental impact. We saw a two hectares of land totally destroyed by activities of artisanal crude oil refining.
“We will continue to uncover more and fetch them out from the roots. Our mandate is to protect the environment and oil facilities to boost oil production and the Nigerian economy, that is the task given to us and we will continue to collaborate and sensitize the communities and work with the leaders of the community.
“The message is very clear, that is not business as usual, therefore, we are calling on all those who are involved in these activities to desist from it and partner us, so that the modular refineries we are clamouring for will come to us.
“This is a technical operation, we are on it and we will not give up until we bring oil theft to a halt.”