An overfly showed unknown persons had drilled holes and installed valves to transfer crude to waiting barges and trucks, in the process, polluting farm lands and water bodies. “We are very disappointed that oil thieves are still at work,” said Tony Attah, Vice President, HSE and Corporate Affairs, Shell Sub-Saharan Africa. “This is why we call for concerted efforts to help stop this criminal activity which not only puts the lives of the perpetrators and the public at risk but causes severe environmental impact and impacts the communities in the area. It also wastes badly needed revenue to finance development even in the same areas in which the activities are taking place.”

Some 16 oil theft points were discovered in Imo River field in September alone. The unprecedented scale of crude theft in the area forced SPDC to shut the field, resulting in deferment of about 25,000 barrels of oil per day. Production will remain suspended until the crude theft and refining activities have stopped.
More than 75% of all oil spill incidents and more than 70% of all oil spilled from SPDC facilities in the delta between 2006 and 2010 were caused by sabotage, theft and illegal refining.  Since January 1st this year, SPDC has published data on every spill on the web to further demonstrate the robustness of its oil spill response process. The website ( is updated weekly with joint investigation reports and photographic evidence of both operational and sabotage spills.

SPDC is also examining ways to bring third party verification to the oil spill investigation process, bringing further transparency to the assessment of causes and volumes.

Mr. Attah added: “Nobody else operating in the Niger Delta comes close to this level of transparency. But regardless of how well we run our operations until sabotage and crude theft spills are stopped or curbed, the vast majority of oil spills will continue to blight large swathes of land and pollute rivers and farm lands.”