Ejiofor Alike with agency reports
The Trans-Forcados pipeline, which was shut for most of 2016, is likely to be reopened around the end of the second quarter of 2017, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru has said.
Owned by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the pipeline has been attacked severally by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
It was first attacked by the Avengers in February 2016, the first on a subsea pipeline in the country.
A spill that occurred on February 14, 2016 from the subsea crude oil export pipeline forced Shell to declare a force majeure on Forcados liftings on February 21 due to the disruption to production.
Attempts to repair the 48-inch pipeline were frustrated by further attacks by the militants.
But Reuters quoted Avuru as saying yesterday that the facility would come on stream near the end of the second quarter of this year.
“We have a lot of locked-in production which we intend to unlock by exploring various other means…beyond the Trans Forcados,” Avuru said, adding that the company was looking at the Escravos export avenue as one option.
“On the whole, we think that into the second half of the year, we should be back to decent production,” Avuru said.
Before the attacks on Forcados, Seplat, which is listed on the London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges, produced 74,000 barrels per day (bpd), which were exported either via the Forcados export terminal or the Warri refinery.
The federal government and the oil and gas-producing companies operating in the country have lost billions of dollars to the bombing of the pipeline that conveys the Forcados grade of crude oil to the 400,000 barrels per day Forcados Export Terminal.
SPDC and other upstream companies operating in the western Niger Delta evacuate crude oil and condensates through the pipeline to the export terminal.
Companies that were hit by the attacks included Shell, Seplat, Shoreline Resources Limited, Neconde, First Hydrocarbon Nigeria (FHN) and NPDC.
Some marginal field producers such as Pillar Oil, Midwestern Oil and Gas, Platform Petroleum and Energia also conveyed their crude through the pipeline.
However, some marginal field producers have an alternative route through the pipelines operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to move their crude to the Brass Export Terminal.
Reuters also reported that Seplat and NPDC, with the help of oil trader, Mercuria, have been exporting from the Warri refinery roughly 20,000 bpd of crude from fields that usually pipe crude through the Forcados pipeline.
This route is however said to be more expensive than exporting through the Trans-Forcados Pipeline.