The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, Igbokoda, said it had discovered five illegal refineries in some communities in the Araromi seaside area of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The military said the illegal refineries contained a total of 365,000 litres of crude oil, adding that the illegal refineries are undergoing destruction.
The Commanding Officer of the base, Navy Cpt. Wasuku Alushi disclosed this on Wednesday after he led the military team on a tour of the illegal refining sites.
According to him, the move was in furtherance of the Navy’s fight against crude oil theft and other related vices in the Niger Delta region, specifically in Ilaje LG of Ondo State
He said, “You will recall that a fortnight ago, the Chief of Naval Staff launched the ‘Operation Delta Sanity’ with the overall goal of intensifying the Nigerian Navy’s efforts in curbing crude oil theft in the Niger Delta area with a view to sanitising the environment.
“Operation Delta Sanity is to sanitise the entire Niger Delta basically from the menace of crude oil thieves, illegal refiners, cultism and other related activities. Part of that mandate is to dismantle these illegal refining sites to render them inactive.”
The commander added, “We are here today based on credible intelligence, you can see that this is an illegal refining site. We are basically to dismantle this site to stop them from carrying out their nefarious activities and also to enlighten the public on the activities of these economic saboteurs to the nation.”
The commander explained that inside the refining field, there were five different illegal refining ovens, saying each of the ovens had 33,000 litres refining capacity as major refining, including two other 10,000 refining capacity.
He stated that these implied that each of the ovens had a refining capacity of 83,000 litres of crude oil per day.
The commander stated further that the illegal refiners “transport the illegally refined crude into these tanks where they apply local technology.”
He said that the refiners use the “principles of fractional distillation in their own crude way and then at the end of it they come up with illegally refined HGO which they further transport, perhaps back through the sea to where the market is.”
Alushi noted, “There are networks of pipes there, most of the pipes are buried under the ground and are connected to the high sea where at night, this locally constructed boat called Cotonou boat come to lift these products for onward delivery to where the markets are.
“We came with welders and other resource persons that will help us dismantle this well-orchestrated network of engineering perpetrated here by these criminal elements so we are here to dismantle this site basically to make it ineffective.”