Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (logo)
By Ejiofor Alike
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Joint Venture has commenced repair of Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) in Bayelsa State, after shutting it down on May 2 because of incessant crude theft activities.
The SPDC’s pipeline repair team had on May 13 disconnected two six-inch lines through which thieves were stealing crude from the 97-kilometre line.
Vice President in charge of Health, Safety and Environment for Shell Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Tony Attah, said in a statement yesterday that the team would tackle eight other illegal bunkering points as it continued to re-assert the integrity of the facility.
The facility was inaugurated in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion to replace an older pipeline.
Attah said when the cost of repairs is added to the “facility downtime and loss of revenue, it becomes clear how crude theft has denied Nigeria of badly-needed revenue”.
“This is a difficult work requiring careful planning and digging up several sections of the line in swamp and land, investigating illegal bunkering points and deciding whether to clamp them or do sectional replacement,” he added.
NCTL was shut down for one month in December 2011, following a spill caused by two failed bunkering connections.
According to the company, the thieves used the one-month pipeline depressurisation as a window to install even more bunkering points. The latest shutdown has led to the declaration of force majeure on export of Bonny Light.
“The Trans Niger Pipeline has also been suffering from crude theft leading to frequent shutdowns for repairs and integrity checks. Clearly, we are concerned by these increasing cases and appeal for concerted efforts to stop the crime for the sake of the environment, the Nigerian state and the communities themselves,” Attah said.
Shell loses 43,000 barrels per day of crude to oil thieves with most of the crude theft activities were targeted at its two major pipelines in the Eastern Niger Delta – the NCTL and Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP).