LONDON, April 21 UK police are hunting a gang of
thieves who are thought to have tapped into an underground oil
pipeline, stealing thousands of litres of fuel, a newspaper
reported on Monday.
More than 30,000 litres of diesel may have been taken from
the pipeline running from Esso's Fawley Refinery, the Daily Echo
reported. That would be worth about 41,000 pounds ($70,000) at
Oil theft from pipelines is relatively rare in Britain but a
major problem in some parts of the world, such as Nigeria where
it is estimated to cost the government up to $1 billion per
Police were guarding the spot in West Wellow, Hampshire,
southern England, where the thieves are thought to have tapped
into the 14-inch pipeline, the paper reported. The fuel is being
stored safely and engineers from the refinery are working to
retrieve it, it said, citing police.
The pipeline, known as the Midline Pipeline and owned by
Esso, is one of the UK's main underground pipelines that supply
fuel including gas, diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.
A similar incident took place recently in Gloucestershire,
the newspaper reported.
Esso, a UK unit of Exxon Mobil, did not comment on
the Hampshire theft and referred enquiries to the police, the
(Reporting by Alex Lawler. Editing by Jane Merriman)