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Shell 'saddened' by raging oil thefts

14 October 2013, 06:36Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - The Shell Petroleum Development Company SPDC has again raised alarm on the increasing trend of crude oil theft which has caused repeated closures of two key pipelines this year, a setback that has resulted in deferment of up to 300 000 barrels of oil per day.

The company has suffered a series of setbacks and in the latest of such, a force majeure was declared on Bonny Light exports effective Thursday.
Production was deferred because of leaks observed on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) at B-Dere, Nonwa - Tai and Bodo West.

An investigation visit conducted on Friday, comprising regulators, SPDC and members of the community discovered that the spill at B-Dere was caused by unknown persons who drilled holes on the line. Similar investigation visits are being organised for Nonwa - Tai and Bodo West.

The entire TNP system, comprising the 24-inch and 28-inch has been closed down at least five times since early July this year due to multiple leaks from crude theft connections. The downstream section of Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) between San Barth and Bonny was reopened on August 6 after the removal of 60 crude theft points, but was shut again in September with the discovery of seven additional connections. Repair of the line is progressing.

Officials said a total of 189 crude theft points have been repaired on the TNP and NCTL between January and September this year.

"We are dealing with a social tragedy, an environmental crisis and a sad waste of resources," SPDC Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu said on Friday.

"We find it difficult to safely operate our pipelines without having to shut them frequently to prevent leaks from illegal connections impacting the environment. Ironically, it appears the crude thieves use repair windows to prepare and quickly launch fresh illegal connections when we restart production."

Sunmonu appealed for a multi-stakeholder approach to stem the tide.

"While SPDC continues to play its part in combating crude oil theft by amongst other things, increasing surveillance of pipelines and organising daily helicopter over-flights of pipeline routes, the experience of the past few months requires more concerted efforts by all stakeholders, including Government and communities, to address what is turning out to be a dangerous development in the Niger Delta."

- CAJ News


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