News / Africa

Shell Nigeria May Shut Oil Pipeline Due to Thefts

A warning sign belonging to the company Royal Dutch Shell is seen along the Nembe creek in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa Dec. 2, 2012.
A warning sign belonging to the company Royal Dutch Shell is seen along the Nembe creek in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa Dec. 2, 2012.
Reuters
Shell may be forced to completely shut down its 150,000 barrel per day Nembe Creek oil pipeline in Nigeria due to an "unprecedented" amount of oil theft, the company's local unit said on Monday.

The Nembe trunkline is one of the most important production routes for Africa's top crude oil exporter, feeding the benchmark Bonny Light export terminal. The pipeline was replaced in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion, Shell says.

A spokesman for Nigerian security forces in the oil-producing Niger Delta said they were having successes against oil thieves. He denied that there was any surge in theft along the Nembe line, accusing Shell of failing to seal leaks.

Criminal gangs frequently tap into exposed pipelines in the winding creeks and waterways in the Niger Delta. Some of the crude is refined locally but the majority is transferred onto larger ships offshore and sold internationally.

Oil theft also has a devastating environmental impact, destroying fishing communities and poisoning water used for drinking and bathing in parts of the Niger Delta.

Flows stations on the pipeline were shut down three times between Feb. 22 and Feb. 25 due to thefts, with each incident deferring 150,000 bpd of production, Shell said in a statement.

"It is getting to the crunch that rather than allow people to continue to attack my pipeline and devastate the environment, I may actually consider shutting in the pipeline completely," Shell Nigeria managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said. "...The situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented. The volume being stolen is the highest in the last three years; over 60,000 bpd from Shell alone," he said.

Even taking the theft into account, shutting the pipeline would be a drastic move that would cost Shell up to 150,000 bpd of production revenues.

Lieutenant Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, a spokesman for Nigerian forces in the Niger Delta, said a crackdown on oil theft meant it was on the decrease, adding nearly 2,000 suspects had been arrested since it was launched last year and more than twice as many illegal refineries destroyed.

More than 100 oil barges had also been destroyed, he said. "It's therefore quite difficult to reconcile the upsurge [in oil theft] spoken of by SPDC [Shell Petroleum Development Corporation] given these record achievements," he said. "The JTF [joint task force] does not have the man power to put operatives permanently on over 6000km of pipeline."

He said SPDC - a Shell-run joint venture majority owned by Nigeria's state oil firm - had been alerted to numerous ruptures on pipelines but had failed to seal them, including on the Dasaba and Mekakiri creeks. Local communities also sometimes accuse Shell of failing to seal leaks.

"Till date, SPDC has done nothing to salvage the situation and yet it is issuing undue threats of shutting down ... The JTF does not have the expertise to clamp them, SPDC does," Nwachukwu said.

Nigerian Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said last month the thefts were the work of international crime syndicates and she had requested help from Britain to tackle the problem.

Security experts say they believe Nigerian officials must be complicit in the business, considering the scale of theft, which some oil companies have estimated at around 150,000 bpd across the whole of the industry.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid