The force majeure declared by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and French oil major, Total, on the exports of Nigeria’s Bonny Light and Amenam grades of crude oil has disrupted exports of over 200,000 barrels per day, THISDAY has learnt.
Bonny Light and Amenam grades of crude are light and sweet, typically suitable for petrol production.
Shell declared force majeure on exports of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude following the closure of Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), one of the two major export pipelines used by Shell and other producing companies in the eastern Niger Delta to evacuate crude oil to export terminals.
The Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) is the second major pipeline used by the upstream companies in the eastern Niger Delta.
Aiteo E & P, the operator of the NCTL, shut down the facility located around Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 on April 21, following a fire outbreak, and Shell yesterday confirmed it had declared force majeure on April 25.
The Nigerian military had also confirmed that at least six persons suspected to be the masterminds of the fire incident were killed during the inferno, which engulfed the facility.
Aiteo had assured that the fire outbreak reported within its Right of Way (ROW) in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, had been put out.
Aiteo’s spokesman, Mr. Ndiana Matthew, said the security team conducted further inspections at various times and confirmed that the fire had been contained.
While on a visit to the location, the new JTF Commander in the Niger Delta, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, told journalists that troops on surveillance at a nearby houseboat who arrived the scene confirmed that all the suspected vandals that breached the pipeline under high pressure died from the ensuing explosion.
Akinrinade, who was on the inspection with the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, with Rear Admiral David Adeniran, expressed regret at the development, which led to the outage of the 150,000 barrels per day.
Before the force majeure, Bonny Light exports had been planned at 222,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June and 184,000 bpd in May, but trading sources told Reuters they were awaiting new loading plans.
Shell, however, said the export terminal continued to run, despite the force majeure, which frees the company from any contractual obligations to customers.
Amenam, operated by Total, is also under force majeure, disrupting exports of about 100,000 bpd, and delaying loading by 25 days.