Base Oil Theft Foiled in Russia


A Nizhny Novgorod oblast, Russia, prosecutor indicted seven operators of a flush steamer unit at a railway station in Kstovo, charging them with theft of a 60-ton base oil tank carriage earlier this year.

In January the nearby Lukoil refinery mistakenly dispatched an oil tank to the Zeletsino railroad station, according to the prosecutors investigation.

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Although the tank carriage was supposed to be empty, it instead arrived at the station sealed [for security] and loaded with 60 tons of SN-150 base oil used for production of motor oils. A property of LLK International, the oil was meant for export and its value at that time was around 1.2 million rubles [almost US $40,000], Russias general prosecutors office said in a recent press release.

LLK is Russian oil major Lukoils lube arm, and it operates a 3,600 barrels per day API Group I base oil plant at its Nizhny Novgorod refinery.

The prosecutors office said that Roman Korolev, one of the flushing machines operators, realized that the carriage arrived at the station loaded with oil. The investigation found that, knowing the products real value, he decided to remove it from the station and ultimately to sell it. Together with his six colleagues, Korolev developed a theft plan and everybody assigned himself a role to execute it, the prosecutor alleged.

Later, they made a deal to transport and sell the base oil to a few owners of specialized vehicles for oil transportation and to a fuel and lubricants distribution company located in a nearby supply depot. The seven perpetrators deceived the distribution companys director and the heavy duty vehicle owners about the legality of how they acquired the base oil, the prosecutor said.

During a night shift at the station on Jan. 12, these individuals organized drainage and removal of about half of the tanks contents. However, they could not complete the project, as they were detained at the spot by the police. The stolen goods were returned to the owner, noted the prosecutors office, which sent the case to the Kstovo court of law for further processing.

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