Shell rues upsurge in oil theft in Nigeria

Shell Nigeria’s oil production is significantly hampered by rampant oil theft and pipeline sabotage in the Niger Delta, which apart from loss of revenue remains a major environmental concern, a Shell official was reported as saying by Nigeria’s state news agency Monday.

“The activities of oil thieves slow down our operation because any time there is a cut on our pipeline, we have to shut down to enable us to locate the affected area,” NAN quoted the head of Oil Spill at Shell, Pat Agbo saying at an industry seminar held in the southern city of Yenogoa. “In any oil spill, the environment suffers the heat,” Agbo said.

Crude oil production by Nigeria, the world’s eighth largest exporter, has been blighted by the upsurge in oil theft, where thieves drill holes into pipelines and wellheads to steal crude.

Shell, which shut down in April a major crude export pipeline to repair points where thieves drilled holes, said Nigeria was losing more than 150,000 barrels/day of oil production to theft.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Nigerian navy Monday said it had impounded a vessel laden with 120,000 liters of diesel siphoned from punctured pipelines in the Brass area of southern Bayelsa state.

The navy said 10 crew-members of the locally flagged vessel, MV Dalal, were arrested and handed over to Nigeria’s anti-graft agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.

–Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,


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