Oil theft forces Shell to shut pipeline again

A girl walks on a gas pipeline running through Okrika community near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt10 October 2013, Lagos – Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has shut the Trans Niger Pipeline, TNP, following reports of fresh leaks, barely 10 days after its repair.

The development has led to the deferment of about 150,000 barrels of oil per day from the facility.

Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo, in a statement, said: “The latest leaks were reported at B-Dere, Nonwa–Tai, and Bodo West all in Ogoni land. SPDC shut the line as a precautionary measure after receiving reports of the incidents and has also mobilised a spill response team.

“A joint investigation visit will be conducted as soon as possible to determine the cause and impact of the spills.”

Two weeks ago, Shell declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports and gas supply to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) to repair the pipeline. The pipeline resumed operation last week before it was shut again yesterday.

Okolobo said the force majeure was declared following the shutting down of the TNP for repair following fresh crude oil theft leaks at Bodo West and Oloma.

He said some 150,000 barrels of oil and 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day were also deferred as a result of the shutdown.

“The TNP has been repeatedly targeted and closed down five times since early July due to multiple leaks from crude theft connections,” he said, adding that the company was working to repair and reopen the line as soon as possible.

Shell has been the worst hit by oil theft among oil companies operating in the country, with an average loss of 80,000 barrels per day.

Its Managing Director and country chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, who has persistently condemned the incessant attacks on the company’s assets, said Shell had contributed a lot to the economy. Shell, he said, helped in building the Afam VI power plant which has over 600 mega watt (MW) capacity, developing domestic gas supply, human capacity development, infrastructure provision, among others.

During the launch of the ongoing Shell advertising campaign in the media “Let’s Go,” Sunmonu said Shell companies generated $69 billion for the government years between 2008 and 2011 through payment of taxes and royalties.

Shell, he said, contributed $178million to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) last year as part of the mandatory levy oil companies remit into the commission’s fund.

He said additional $103million was directly invested by SPDC and Shell Nigeria Exploration And Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) towards addressing social and economic development challenges in the Niger Delta, paid about $635million into the government’s education fund in the last five years, and awarded $2.4billion contracts to indigenous contractors last year.

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