Another 140,000 bpd Shut in as Agip, AITEO Close Operations in Bayelsa

  • Navy asks communities to produce militants or face punitive action  

By Chineme Okafor in Abuja and Sylvester Idowu in Warri with agency report

Nigeria’s crude oil production capacity has again dropped by 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the renewed activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a new militant group in the country’s Delta region.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported in Abuja yesterday that while the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has shut its Bayelsa production facility which produces 65,000bpd, indigenous operator, Aiteo, which operates the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, has also stopped its 75,000bpd facility in Bayelsa.

According to the agency, earlier attacks on NAOC oilfield on May 18 and 24 resulted in the shutdown of some 5,200 barrels of its equity share of oil output.

It said a spokesperson for Agip confirmed the development in a short e-mail response to it.

“The total deferred production due to the attack is 65,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily,” read the e-mail sent to NAN.

It further said: “I can confirm that. There is no further impact on production, since all production from the swamp area has already been stopped days ago.”

According to crude production figures provided by the oil firm, the country is losing about $3.12 million in revenue each day its facility remains out of production.

Also, Shola Omole, spokesman for Aiteo, said the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, which conveyed crude to Bonny export terminal but came under attack by NDA on May 28, had been shut.

Omole explained that 75,000bpd of oil was deferred as the line remained out of service.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had on Thursday in Vienna said Nigeria was producing 1.6 million barrels per day which excludes further production outages due to attack on Agip, Chevron and Shell.

Meanwhile, the Commander of the NNS Delta, Warri, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, has asked the two host communities within the 48-inch Forcados crude oil trunk line blown up by the NDA to produce the militants that blew up the trunk line or face the full weight of the law, including the deployment of the military to the area.

The two communities that host the Forcados Export Terminal are Ogulagha and Odimodi in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The naval boss told the leaders of the two communities yesterday that they either produce those responsible for the destruction of the crude oil export trunk line in their domain or the military would be deployed to fish them out.

Mohammed, who visited the site of the destruction at the weekend, noted that the failure of the communities to do as demanded would require security operatives to commence a military operation in the area. A situation, which he noted, might be uncomfortable to innocent people of the areas.

Addressing representatives of the communities, the naval boss told them emphatically that the vandals who destroyed the critical oil export facility were either members of the communities or had contacts among them.

Based on his observation of the terrain, Mohammed said the vandals must have passed through the communities by land or by water.

The Navy commander, who was briefed on arrival at the scene of the destruction by representatives of the host communities and a team of engineers, however, reassured the communities that his men were determined to go after the militants and flush them out of the region.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the inspection, Mohammed insisted that the vandals must have passed through the communities to perpetrate the condemnable act.

He said: “The perpetrators must have passed through their villages or they are even from the villages. So, they know every intruder or anybody that is criminal among them.

“That’s why I’m giving them time to come up with those behind this attack. The perpetrators must have come through the waters or land. They know those who pass through their communities, if not, we have to start controlling movement which I believe they will find difficult.”

But the leaders of the two communities were not pleased with the two options given to them, saying they were tasking since they could not be made to answer for the destruction of a property they had no direct control over.

Chairman of Ogulagha community, Captain Solomon Prebor (rtd), who spoke on behalf of the communities, said they could not be held liable for the latest attack because the export line was not situated within their reach.

He also denied that the communities knew those behind the attack of the Shell-operated trunk line.