Shell Petroleum Developing Company (SPDC) Limited, the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, has resumed production in the Niger Delta after repairing a sabotaged supply pipeline.
The Trans-Niger Pipeline (TNP) was shut by the company on June 19 after an explosion and fire in an area where oil theft occurred, which resulted in a cut of 150 000 barrels of oil per day.
SPDC Managing Director, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said the company responded promptly to fix the problem. “At the earliest opportunity, we quickly mobilised teams to respond to a crude theft spill on the 28-inch TNP on June 10 and the explosion and fire on June 19,” he said. “We conducted an assessment of the risks and decided, with the support of the JTF (military joint task force) to enforce a restriction of access to the site for safety reasons.” he added.
Shell has blamed repeated oil thefts and sabotage of key pipelines as major cause of spills and pollution in the oil-producing region. Crude oil theft is a major problem in the country that costs the country some $6 billion in revenue per year.
Nigeria’s oil production accounts for more than two million barrels per day, but output dropped to 1.96 million bpd in May, a six-month low, according to the International Energy Agency.
A 2009 amnesty deal led to a sharp decline in unrest in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, but criminal activity has since flourished. While Shell blames most of the spills on sabotage, activists argue that the company does not do enough to prevent such incidents and effectively clean up the damage when they do occur.
A landmark report from the UN’s environmental agency in August 2011 said decades of oil pollution in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta may require the world’s biggest clean-up