Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, on Tuesday disagreed with reasons given by the Italian oil firm, Eni, on why it declared a force majeure in its oil field in Bayelsa State.
Nigerian Agip Oil Company said it shut down its activities in the swamp area oil fields in the state from which it produces about 40,000 barrels of crude oil daily, over a growing wave of illegal bunkering.
The oil firm, in a statement, claimed it was losing about 7,000 barrels of its crude production daily to oil thieves in Bayelsa, a development it described as unsustainable.
But JTF in a statement made available to our correspondent in Yenagoa on Tuesday said oil companies, including Agip, had continued to shy away from their responsibility to properly manage oil spillage.
The security outfit which is responsible for waging war against oil theft, said oil firms were simply engaged in bulk passing without doing their part in the fight against illegal oil bunkering.
JTF in the statement by its Media Coordinator, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, regretted that oil firms had failed to clamp spill points reported on their pipelines by its operatives.
The outfit, however, observed that Agip might have declared the force majeure to enable it to repair its facilities and clamp spill points along its pipelines.
It further blamed the notoriety of oil theft in the region on lack of diligent prosecution by prosecuting agencies.
It said suspected oil thieves were fond of being released on bail by the agencies that were expected to arraign and punish them.
JTF in the statement said, “Though the notoriety of oil thieves in Bayelsa creeks seems dauntless because the culprits are always released on bail by the prosecuting agencies, they are not having a filled day as is being portrayed in some sensational statements made by oil firms.
“Passing the bulk will not absolve any oil firm of its responsibility to properly manage oil spillage when it occurs on their facilities. JTF anti oil theft patrol operations are daily patrolling the creeks and many interceptions and arrests are made by our patrol teams in Igbematoru and the surrounding creeks in Bayelsa.