On February 10, 2015 at 14:50 Moscow Time, employees of the Security Service of Transneft Volga Region, JSC, came across the evidence of unauthorized tapping at 865.050 km of the Kuibyshev – Tikhoretsk oil trunk pipeline (Volgograd Region, Kotelnikovo District).
The operational group of the Oktyabrsky Intermunicipal Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Kotelnikovo District of the Volgograd Region – arrived at the point of the alleged tapping. They discovered a tapping arrangement at the depth of 130 cm from the ground surface, including a plastic branch pipe going into the nearest forest. The total length of the branch pipe was 127 meters, and it was laid at the depth ranging from 25 to 30 cm. The branch pipe was filled with oil. The metal part of the tapping was covered by the law-breakers with polymer film so that it would be well-hidden.
At the moment, the financial damage is being estimated. There was no oil seepage.
Unauthorized tappings result not only in direct losses caused through the product theft, but also in increased risk of adverse environmental consequences. Furthermore, illegal tappings can result in the situation when the oil pipeline must be taken out of service until the damaged section is replaced, while the entire oil pipeline must be shut down during the repair works.
In October, 2014 the Kotelnikovo District Court of the Volgograd Region passed a sentence upon two local residents who were found guilty of committing the crime specified in paragraphs a and b, Part 2 Article 215.3 «Damaging oil pipelines, oil product pipelines and gas pipelines beyond repair», the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The convicts were sentenced for ten months in prison and their car – VAZ 212140 LADA (Niva) manufactured in 2013 – was confiscated for the benefit of the state.
Over January-December 2014, 53 facts of criminal offences were recorded (2013 – 51), including unauthorized tappings – 25 (2013 – 35), facts of property theft – 28 (2013 – 15), other criminal acts – 0 (2013 – 1 electricity theft).
Out of 25 criminal acts involving oil theft, in 4 occurrences the law-breakers were apprehended on the scene. In total, in 2014 during the raids aimed at prevention of unlawful actions, employees of the Security Service of Transneft Volga Region, JSC, jointly with law-enforcement authorities, apprehended 16 people suspected of committing criminal acts. 11 units of motor vehicles were seized, including 3 trucks with oil; about 140 tons of oil were confiscated from the law-breakers.
In 2014 in connection with the oil stolen from the trunk pipeline of the company, 4 criminal proceedings were initiated against 10 people, including 2 criminal proceedings of the previous years and 2 criminal proceedings following the apprehension of law-breakers in the current year. Out of 9 convicts – 6 law-breakers were sentenced for different terms in prison, whereas 3 – got away with a suspended sentence.