Shell has reported that it has uncovered two further onshore oil pipeline leaks in Nigeria’s Delta. The discovery comes soon after the company had to declare force majeure on crude exports due to to theft related outages.
A Shell spokesman, Precious Okolo, said, “Two new leaks were reported on May 7 on the trans-Niger pipeline at Akpajo and K-Dere in Ogoniland after a similar number of leaks caused by hacksaw cuts were repaired at the weekend … A joint investigation team will determine the cause and extent of the leaks preparatory to repair work.”
Criminal gangs cutting into pipes to siphon away oil (in a process called Bunkering) is, despite a recent amnesty, a major issue in the region and has been attributed to many spills. Despite the fact that Shell no longer operates in Ogoniland, it still owns and maintains pipelines and infrastructure in the area, and has stated its commitment to cleaning up spillages whatever the cause.
Shell has raised complaints about the continuing problems caused by Bunkering and has requested a government security crackdown on the activity. According to the company, approximately 150 000 bpd is lost due to bunkering and other thefts.
With oil prices above US$ 110 and Nigerian crude’s low sulfur content being highly attractive to Western markets, oil theft continues to be highly lucrative.
Edited from various sources by David Bizley
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