Shell Nigeria, an arm of Dutch company, Royal Dutch Shell has disclosed that it may have to “completely” shut down its 150,000 barrels per day pipeline in the creeks of Nembe, Bayelsa State due to incessant oil theft which has continued to affect the pipeline and the company.
The pipeline which was replaced after it suffered some damages at a cost of $ 1. 1 billion in 2010 lies in the Nembe trunk line which is one of the major routes feeding the Bonny Light Export Terminal. Crude oil theft and bunkering have become big businesses in and around the creeks as armed gangs go as far as vandalizing pipelines to get crude oil which are sometimes refined locally for sale or loaded onto vessels belonging to foreign companies who want to make brisk business.
A statement issued by Shell on Monday indicated that the flow station of the pipeline had to be shut down thrice between February 22 and 25 with a record shortage of 150,000 barrels per day. Mutiu Sunmonu, MD of Shell Nigeria stated that “this is really getting to the crunch. I It is getting to the crunch that rather than allow people to continue to attack my pipeline and devastate the environment, I may consider shutting the pipeline in completely.” He continued, “the situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented, the volume being stolen is the highest in three years. over 60,000 barrels per day from Shell alone.”
It will be recalled that an international court awarded cost against the company in a case instituted by some farmers over the destruction of their farms as a result of spillage, which the company claimed was caused by activities of vandals and oil thieves.