Posted: 20 Feb, 2017

A major theft of petroleum from the Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline was detected last week, where thieves had dug a large tunnel (15ft deep and 100m long) on the outskirts of R K Puram colony under Highway Police Station. The breach on the pipeline was detected when the leak detection system (LDS) observed several pressure drops, reporting a massive leakage.

A theft had been suspected as early as November 2016, as the LDS observed a small pressure-drop during operation. But the LDS wasn’t accurate enough to provide a location, and despite repeated surface monitoring the theft point could not be found.

“Though the theft was suspected ... (a) drop in pressure of fuel in the pipeline was observed by a ‘leak detection system’, however, it (the leak) could not be found in spite of repeated surface monitoring as the theft was not massive”

“It came to surface when more drop in pressure was detected recently,” he said adding that theft this time has been committed in a planned way where all the three systems -survey, activation, and operation appear to have been adopted,” Virendra Kumar, Pipeline Manager Telecom and Instrumentation, Indian Oil

By the time police and refinery officials reached the theft point, a tanker was being filled from the pipeline. However, criminals managed to escape. A valve had been attached to the pipeline, and the tunnels the gang had dug out were fitted out with electric lights and provisions for fresh air to circulate the police report stated.

Police Circle Office Anupam Singh said that over half a dozen incidents of fuel theft have occurred on the pipeline, but so far no arrests have been made. He also said that “The culprits this time would not go scot-free”.