Shell shuts-in 70,000bpd amid fresh oil leak

04 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – Still reeling from the massive spill that led to the short down of its 200,000 barrels per day Bonga facility offshore Nigeria, Shell has announced the closure of the 70,000 barrels per day Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) in Bayelsa State due to oil leak.

Tony Okonedo, Corporate Media Relations Manager, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), announced the closure in a statement, saying the facility was shut to repair leaks found on it. The facility has been prone to attacks by militants before the amnesty programme was put in place.

The statement said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) is mobilising to repair the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) after crude theft leaks forced it to be shut down
“SPDC had confirmed the leak on the 90-kilometre line and quickly shut in some producing flow stations, while also isolating the facility. Some 70,000 barrels of oil per day is deferred. The NCTL evacuates majority of SPDC and third party crude oil production in Eastern Swamp operations to Bonny Terminal.”

Shell said a joint investigation conducted by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, SPDC and the community showed oil thieves had installed valves at two points near the Tora manifold in Nembe in Bayelsa State. More than 200 barrels of spilled oil have been recovered.

Commenting, the Vice President HSE & Corporate Affairs, Shell Sub-Saharan Africa, Tony Attah, said: “What is really worrying about this leak is that it happened on a facility which was inaugurated in October 2009 to replace an old line, which was repeatedly targeted by crude oil thieves. Sadly, the crude thieves continue to hinder efforts to maintain the integrity of key national oil and gas assets.”
The company said it is working to complete repair of the line before the end of January 2012.

The 90-km Nembe Creek Trunkline, constructed at a cost of over $1.1 billion, has a capacity to transport 600,000 bpd from 14 flow stations in the Niger Delta to the Bonny export terminal in Rivers State. It has been attacked many times. In September 2010, a major repair work was carried out on it following leaks caused by saboteurs.

Royal Dutch Shell said last week an oil spill from the Bonga field, the largest spill in the African nation since 1998,
has been contained, but the oilfield remained closed. The company has not said how long the field would be shut, and traders said Tuesday no nominations has yet been seen for cargoes.

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