Shell Nigeria spokesman Precious Okolobo, told SweetcrudeReports on Thursday: “We closed the line on Sunday to remove crude oil theft points and are looking to finish the exercise and re-open the line as soon as possible”
He did not disclose the volume of crude oil affected by the development as stated that Shell has deployed engineers to repair the pipeline in the Niger Delta region, which feeds the Bonny exports terminal and would reopen “as soon as repair works are completed”, he added.
Oil majors do not usually give information on production losses.
Local media in Nigeria estimated that about 95,000 barrels of crude per day might have been shut in as a result of the closure.Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer, accounting for more than two million barrels per day.
Crude oil theft or “bunkering” is a major problem in Nigeria, with estimates that the country loses some $6 billion in revenue per year as a result.
Such theft can involve thieves tapping pipelines to syphon crude for sale on the lucrative black market. It can lead to explosions, fires and oil pollution.
The Nembe pipeline has been hit repeatedly by sabotage and theft.
While Shell blames most of the spills on sabotage, activists argue that the company does not do enough to prevent such incidents and effectively clean up the damage when they do occur.