Lagos — Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC has refuted claims of crude theft and diversion widely reported against it by some media outlets recently.
In a statement on Friday, the firm condemned the reports, saying the although a Federal High Court in Lagos had granted an interim ex parte order on 25th January 2021 freezing the bank accounts of some named Shell companies in Nigeria, it was wrong for some media houses to have linked the court order to the allegation of crude diversion against the company.
According to the statement, claims underpinning the interim freeze order obtained by the plaintiff, Aiteo Eastern E&P Company Limited, relates to the sale of the interests of SPDC and two other SPDC JV partners in the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, NCTL and OML 29 to Aiteo in 2015; and crude reallocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into Aiteo’s NCTL which is a normal industry practice.
SPDC said the disputes are subject of ongoing litigation and the company is working to secure an expeditious discharge of the freezing injunction which we believe was obtained by Aiteo without any valid basis.
“The crude theft/diversion allegation is also factually incorrect. This is a distinct issue that relates to the directive by the Department of Petroleum Resources to SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, an asset belonging to the SPDC Joint Venture, to implement a crude re-allocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.
“Crude allocation review and re-allocation is a normal industry practice to re-allocate previous provisional allocated volumes under the directive and supervision of DPR, and this is not an exercise resulting from crude diversion, underreporting or theft at the terminal. This industry practice is not peculiar to the SPDC-operated Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal alone and does not translate into any loss of volumes to the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
Explaining further it said the re-allocation in issue was initiated by SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, while the DPR validated and confirmed it for implementation for the concerned oil producers.
“Crude oil production metering and allocation are subject to specific guidelines issued by the industry regulator, DPR. SPDC strictly adheres to these guidelines and the implementation is regularly verified by the regulator.
“SPDC and all Shell companies in Nigeria are responsible Corporate citizens who conduct their operations in accordance with applicable laws and industry best practices.”
DPR, in response to media enquiries on Saturday 13th February 2021 had described the allegations of crude diversion/theft against SPDC as untrue and urged that the allegations be disregarded.