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Thursday, February 18, 2010

COMBATING OIL & GAS THEFT

February 18, 2010 - The territory of the El Paso Division’s Midland Resident Agency encompasses one of the largest oil and natural gas production regions in the U.S.—the Permian Basin. In the last four years the region has suffered $85 million in losses from the theft of oilfield equipment and raw product.

A continually growing market exists for stolen equipment and product, much of which is transported out of Texas or to Mexico. To counter this threat, the El Paso Division formed a major theft task force known as the Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force. Participating agencies include sheriff’s deputies from three of the region’s most affected counties (Midland, Ector, and Andrews) and the Texas Rangers.

Class instructors for the week included (pictured from left to right): Assistant U.S. Attorney John Klassen; FBI Intelligence Analyst Cheryl Herzberger; FBI Special Agent Justin E. Fleck; Midland County Deputy Chief Ed Krevit; Task Force Officer Mark Greenhaw; Task Force Officer David Trujillo; Task Force Officer Alan Thompson; and Texas Ranger Lt. Kenny Ray.

In February, the Midland Resident Agency provided training to approximately 200 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. The training consisted of an overview of threats posed to the critical oil and gas production, storage, and transportation infrastructure from major theft organizations, economic espionage, and intentional physical destruction. Officers received eight hours of continuing education credit for participation through the university’s criminal justice program.

The Energy Security Council, a professional organization of industry security representatives and law enforcement, provided an array of commonly stolen oilfield equipment for use during the training. This allowed participants to obtain a unique perspective on what to look for while patrolling the border regions of southwest Texas. In addition, these efforts have resulted in the establishment of an energy crime stoppers toll-free number, which is being implemented through the more traditional crime stoppers network. The training resulted in a heightened awareness of the threat posed to this critical infrastructure and practical tool to that will help law enforcement battle this problem more effectively.

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