No fewer than 30 active illegal oil refining sites in Cawthorne Channel and Bille, in the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have been destroyed by air strikes from the air component of Operation Delta Safe.
Also, storage tanks, reservoirs, and Cotonou boats suspected to be siphoning crude oil from a flow station were destroyed in the operations.
The Air Force Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement on Sunday that over 30 illegal refining sites had been destroyed in the areas of Bille and Caawthorne in the last two months.
The statement reads, “Air strikes conducted on Cawthorne Channel and Bille, both located in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, proved successful as seven illegal refining sites were identified and destroyed.
In Cawthorne Channel, four active illegal refining sites with dug-out reservoirs and surface storage tanks suspected to contain illegal refined products were sighted on September 15, 2023. Subsequently, the sites were destroyed.
“Similar air strikes were also conducted at Bille on September 16, 2023, and in the early hours of September 17, 2023. There, three illegal oil refining sites with storage tanks and reservoirs were destroyed. In one of the sites, a Cotonou boat suspected to be siphoning crude oil from a flow station was engaged in several passes and destroyed.
“In the last 2 months, Cawthorne Channel and Bille have accounted for the majority of oil theft and illegal oil refining activities in Rivers State. Within this period, over 30 illegal oil refining sites in these 2 locations have been destroyed by the land, maritime, and air components of Operation Delta Safe.”