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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid