SPDC JOINT VENTURE LAMENTS SCALE OF CRUDE THEFT IN NIGER DELTA
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) Joint Venture suffers a daily loss of at least 43,000 barrels to crude theft and illegal bunkering, in a trend that negatively impacts the environment, robs the country of badly-needed revenue and fuels criminality in communities. In a statement by it Managing Director, Mutiu Summonu, the company said Last year, sabotage and crude oil theft was also the cause of 11,806 barrels spilled from SPDC facilities in 118 incidents, resulting in an average of one spill every three days, accounting for 77% of the total spilled volume during the period.
“This is a serious attack on the state – the people, the economy, and the environment,” said Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu, while commenting on the effects of crude theft in the Niger Delta. “Since, we calculate crude theft quantities based on volumes produced from flowstations and what is received at terminals, it is true that additional oil is stolen between wellheads and flowstations.”
He said most of the crude theft activities have been targeted at SPDC JV’s two major pipelines in the Eastern Niger Delta – Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) and Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), adding that the NCTL was replaced in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion, but the new line is still a favourite target of crude thieves, especially as bunkering points were installed during the one month shut down for pipeline depressurisation caused by two failed bunkering connections.
The latest illegal bunkering activities on the TNP happened on 5th May, resulting in fires. The line was repaired and reopened the following day.
Mr. Sunmonu said: “The great majority of spills in the Niger Delta are the result of third party interference, mainly sabotage, theft of equipment or leaks caused by crude oil thieves drilling into pipelines or opening up wellheads to steal oil. On average, such third party interference has accounted for 74% of all oil spill incidents and 73% of all oil volume spilled from our facilities between 2007 and 2011.
“Unfortunately, the rest of the volume is caused by operational failures, such as equipment failure and human error. Any spill is a serious concern and we’re working hard to eliminate operational spills”
As part of its on-going asset management programme, Mr. Sunmonu said the SPDC JV replaced 208km of flow lines and pipelines in 2011, in addition to the 132km replaced in 2010 and then appealed to all stakeholders to work together to stop the practice.