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Shell raises alarm over rising crude oil theft spills

By on July 3, 2013

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, operated Joint Venture, Tuesday, raised an alarm over the rising cases of sabotage on its facilities, saying that it recorded eight incidences of vandalisation on its pipelines at the Adibawa field in Eastern Niger Delta which led to the spilling of about 500 barrels of oil into the environment.

According to a statement by Tony Okonedo, Corporate Media Relations Manager, SPDC, the incident happened between January and June this year, adding that majority of the spills were caused when unknown persons inflicted extensive hacksaw cuts on pipelines.

He said the the Adibawa field straddles Biseni, Edagberi and Ikarama communities, stating that a joint team comprising regulators, government ministries, SPDC and communities investigated each of the spills and confirmed their findings in signed-off reports.

He disclosed that the latest spills occurred on the Adibawa – Okordia pipeline at Ikarama, May 24 and June 4, respectively.

He said the largest individual spilled volume of 447 barrels came from the June incident, stating further that investigation is continuing into another spill which occurred on the Adibawa North East flowline at Biseni, May 22.

He said, “In line with its spill response strategy and at the earliest opportunity, SPDC shut down the pipelines, mobilised teams to the site of the incidents for containment and recovery of spilled oil. Cleanup of impacted areas is planned for later in the year.”

Also speaking, Mutiu Sunmonu, SPDC Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, said, “We are very concerned over the rising trend of spills in Adibawa field. Just between April 9 and 26, we recorded four sabotage spills in the same area, polluting rivers and blighting swathes of land. All stakeholders must work together to try to stop this crime against Nigeria.

“SPDC continues to bring new level of transparency in spills reporting. In 2011, we set up a website that captures all spills, sabotage and operational, and information on all the incidents in Adibawa and elsewhere are fully listed there. This is the only such website in Nigeria.”

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, had on June 21, 2013, shut the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) following an explosion and fire at a crude theft point on the 28” section of the facility at Bodo West in Ogoni land.

This resulted to a shut in of 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day, leading to Nigeria losing about $14.73 million (N2.357 billion) daily.

Okonedo disclosed that prior to the incident, SPDC had shut down the 28” TNP to remove crude theft connections, and has now closed the 24” TNP as a precautionary response to the fire.

“This means that the entire TNP system, comprising the 28” and 24” pipelines have been shut-in. The 24” TNP will be reopened when it is safe to do so, while the 28” TNP will remain shut-in until the fire has been extinguished, and investigation and damage assessment completed,” he said.

Commenting on the shut down of the pipeline, Sunmonu said, “This is another sad reminder of the tragic consequences of crude oil theft. Unknown persons continued to reconnect illegal bunkering hoses at Bodo West even as our pipeline team was removing crude theft points. It was, therefore, not surprising that the fire occurred from the continuing illegal bunkering even as a previous crude oil theft point was being repaired by the team.

“So far, there is practically no spill from this event as the oil is burning off. What is visible in the water is from an earlier oil spill which was also as a result of oil theft. The explosion also triggered a fire on a nearby barge. Crude theft continues to pose significant challenges to people, the environment and the local and national economy, and all stakeholders must work together to stop this criminal activity.”