JTF amphibious forces

JTF amphibious forces in a battle-scarred gunboat soldier on in the Niger Delta regardless

May 9, 2013

Nigerian unit of Anglo-Dutch oil giant,
Shell, has admitted that the spate of
crude oil theft from its facilities in the
Niger Delta is reducing, a development
he attributed to the surveillance of the
Joint Task Force, JTF, set up by the Nigerian Government to check the

Shell had constantly complained about
the high incidence of pipeline
vandalism and crude oil theft,
resulting in revenue losses estimated
at over $10 billion annually. The
company had in fact, recently threatened to shut down its
operations if nothing was done to
contain it urgently.

Furthermore, Shell has declared more
force majeure since the year began
than any other oil major operating in
Nigeria, a legal clause that absolves it
from contractual obligations for
failure to meet supply agreements.

However, speaking on the sideline of
the Offshore Technology Conference,
OTC 2013, in Houston Texas, USA, the
Country Chair, Shell Companies in
Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu said,
“certainly it was on the increase a few months ago, but I can also tell you, I
have seen increased attention by the
government security agencies, the JTF,
Navy really moving in to stem the tide.
So I wouldn’t say I am happy, but I can
see improvement in the responsiveness of the government
security agencies.”

The Shell boss refused to quantify, as
he regularly did in the past how much
oil had been saved since the JTF swung
into action, but rather said, “I will be
in a position to tell you when our
Nembe creek trunkline is back up, but right now, that line is down. Like I
said, we are removing the bunkering
points from that line, once all those
bunkering points are removed, and
the line is up and running, we will
then be in a position to judge how much oil we are still losing. But right
now, whatever figure, I give you, is
really going to be artificial.”

For him, what is most important is the
fact that the JTF is getting more and
more effective. “We are having almost
a daily discussion with them and they
do give us good reports on their
efforts so far. I have been in discussion personally myself with the
Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of
Army Staff and they have all given
their commitments to work with
the oil companies to stem the tide.

“We are seeing progress, but like I tell
you, this is a very big operation, so I
am not expecting solution over night,
but what I am expecting is that
government security agencies will
really keep at what they are doing now. If they keep at it for a while, I
am sure we will begin to see a
significant reduction.

“There is hardly any day that they
foiling attempt, they are arresting
vessels, they are destroying illegal
refineries. In a place like Bodo for
instance, in a week or two ago, they
foiled over 30 different attempts by crude oil thieves wanting to attack
additional tapping point to our line.
We see all these successes everyday,
but we just need to keep at it,
because you cannot afford to take
your eyes off the ball.”

As far as the force majeure is
concerned, Sunmonu noted that this
will keep up for a while until “we fully
recover because even with all the
efforts that government security
agencies are putting in, there are some steps we need to take together
jointly in order to make sure the
effects are not continuing.

“So the force majeure that you have
seen declared is for us to some of the
very bad bunkering points that have
been put on the line, because we don’t
remove them, even if you have the
whole Nigerian Army in the creek, you still continue to see crude being
stolen. So our initial attempt is to
remove those bunkering points to
compliment what the security
agencies are doing.”

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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