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Energy industry facing theft problems

Amarillo, TX - Drillers and law enforcement nationwide are facing theft problems.

Thieves are targeting batteries since they are small and relatively easy to nab with bolt cutters. The fear is that as oil and gas production booms, the temptation to steal will only grow. It doesn't just stop at batteries; metal valves, piping, even crude oil itself is vanishing.

This is running up production costs. In a 2008 study, West Texas counties estimated that oilfield thefts cost drillers $78 million during the previous three years.

In reality, actual costs could be twice that because many thefts go unreported. Law enforcement officers are working with drillers to track stolen equipment.

Drillers can also take their own steps to increase the chances of catching thieves, including branding or painting items with a company seal.

Marked batteries are more likely to raise red flags among honest battery suppliers, helping police reconnect ripped-off drillers with their stolen property.

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