Nigeria’s military said on April 13, 2017 that it had destroyed 13 illegal refineries in the restive Niger Delta oil hub, in an operation in which two soldiers died in clashes with “sea robbers”. Military authorities say there are hundreds of illegal refineries in the region, which process stolen crude from oil company pipelines. The Nigerian government said last week that it plans to legalise illicit refineries as part of an attempt to bring peace to the production heartland of crude oil, but it is unclear when it will put the plan into action. Major Abubakar Abdullahi, a military spokesman, said troops “discovered and destroyed 13 illegal refineries” on April 12, 2017 while on patrol in the Iyalama Adama axis of Rivers state. The two soldiers were killed in the Ijawkiri general area, in Rivers state, he said.Makeshift refineries, usually hidden in oil-soaked clearings, support tens of thousands of people locally.
Nigeria’s navy chief has said that 181 illegal refineries were destroyed in 2016, 748 suspects were arrested, and crude oil and diesel worth 420 billion naira ($1.3 billion) was confiscated. The military shut down around 50 bush refineries in the first few weeks of 2017.
Nigeria’s military destroys 13 illegal oil refineries, Reuters, Apr. 13, 2017