Shell Nigeria said on Wednesday that it had shut down its Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) owing to reports of leaks, deferring 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil just 10 days after the pipeline was re-opened.
“The latest leaks were reported at B-Dere, Nonwa-Tai, and Bodo West, all in Ogoniland. (Shell Nigeria) shut the line as a precautionary measure … and has also mobilised a spill response team,” Shell Nigeria spokesman Precious Okolobo said, adding that the cause of the leak was under investigation.
The company blamed the previous shutdown of the TNP on pipeline vandalism by oil thieves. That one led Shell to declare force majeure on its Bonny Light crude and on gas supplied to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company on Sept 23.
The pipeline was re-opened again on September 30, which enabled the force majeure on crude to be lifted last Friday – and the one on gas on Monday.
Africa’s biggest oil exporter has been producing around 15 percent below its 2.5 million bpd (bpd) capacity this year due to widespread oil theft and leakages from ageing pipelines.
Shell blames oil thieves for almost all leakages, although environmental campaigners say a failure to replace its decrepit 50-year-old equipment are as much to blame as sabotage