The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said it lost 12.58 million barrels of crude oil between December 2011 and June to theft, otherwise known as illegal bunkering.
Mr Mesh Maichibi, the Company’s Operation’s Manager, Swamp 1, East, gave the figure to newsmen on Saturday during an over-flight of the Nembe Creek Trunk line (NCTL) in Rivers and Bayelsa states. Maichibi said that out of the number, 1.44 million barrels were deferred due to low pressure on the trunk line caused by trip-offs during the illegal bunkering activities.
He explained that when crude oil stayed under ground and did not come out for use, it was called deferment since there was a lost in production. The operation’s manager said the NCTL consisted of two major trunk lines, San Batholomew and Cawthorne Channel Junction Manifold, adding that crude oil theft on the facilities had increased recently.
Maichibi explained that the Trunk lines, re-commissioned in 2010, had not experienced any significant oil theft until 24 December 2011 when a major spill of 245 barrels was reported at the Tora manifold and was caused by two failed six inches bunkering connections.
“The repairs required installation of coffer dams and took till 23 January, at a total production deferment of 4.3 million barrels. “Since the restart of production on 23 January, there has been multiple facility trips caused by pressure drops, resulting from illegal off take. “Once there are massive illegal bunkering activities, the pressure on the affected facility will drop and trip off,” Maichibi explained.
He said that in a bid to protect the line, members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) were deployed to Cawthorne Channel, Awoba Manifold, San Barth and Tora Manifold.
Jack also conducted the newsmen round the Nembe axis where evidence of illegal bunkering was seen. He said it would take the commitment of the JTF and the communities in the creek to stop the economic sabotage.