Lagos - Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. loses at least 43,000 barrels of oil a day to crude theft and illegal bunkering in Nigeria's Niger Delta, a statement by Precious Okolobo, the oil giant's spokesman, said on Monday.
In 2011 Shell lost about 11,806 barrels in 118 incidents due to sabotage and crude oil theft. The spills, equating an average of one spill every three days, accounted for 77% of the total spilled volume during the period.
"Since, we calculate crude theft quantities based on volumes produced from flowstations and what is received at terminals it is true that additional oil is stolen between wellheads and flow-stations," Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of SPDC said.
According to the statement, most thefts have been on SPDC joint venture's two major pipelines in the Eastern Niger Delta--the Nembe Creek Trunkline, known as NCTL, and Trans Niger Pipeline or TNP. The NCTL was replaced in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion, the statement said but the new line is still a favorite target of crude thieves.
It was shut down for one month in December last year following a spill caused by two failed bunkering connections. The thieves took advantage of that month-long pipeline depressurization to install even more bunkering points.
Since the restart of production in January 2012, there have been multiple trips caused by pressure drops resulting from illegal off-take.
Eventually, the NCTL was shut down May 2 to allow for the removal of more than 50 illegal bunkering points, the statement said.
The latest illegal bunkering on the TNP happened May 5, resulting in fires, the statement said. The line was repaired and reopened the following day.
Nigeria currently produces around 2.3 million barrels of oil a day but its President Goodluck Jonathan said the country plans to raise output to 4 million barrels a day within a decade.