Vandals Force Oilfields Shutdown

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Austin Avuru, CEO of Seplat

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Six oil and gas companies in Nigeria have shut down some of their oil fields because of pipeline vandalism

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  May 25, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

PIPELINE vandalism has caused major oil companies in Nigeria to shut down some of their oilfields in the western Niger Delta area. The companies include Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Seplat Petroleum Development Company,  Shoreline Resources Limited, Neconde, First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, FHN, and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

This shutdown followed the vandalisation of the Trans Forcados Pipeline, which conveys crude oil produced by these companies from the producing fields to the Forcados Export Terminal. Vandals had earlier damaged the pipeline, resulting to the shutdown of crude oil production by these companies from late December 2014 to the first week of January 2015, before they struck again in the first week of March and more recently, the last week of April to the first week of May.

Austin Avuru, CEO of Seplat, said the attack on Trans Forcados Pipeline would always make the company to suffer and as well as spend additional resources in trying to repair the pipeline.   “Once Trans Forcados is down, all of us suffer. In 2014, we budgeted 35 days of outage but we ended up suffering 75 days of outage. In the first 30 days of this year, we have already suffered 15 days of outage. So, the Trans Forcados remains a huge problem for all of us, producers in the western Niger Delta, who deliver crude to Forcados. When it is down, everybody suffers; we have production outage and therefore, for the period, there is no production for the country,” he said.

Earlier, Shell had declared force majeure on Forcados crude oil stream, effectively disrupting the export of 189,000 barrels per day, following what it described as “series of leaks” in the Trans Forcados Pipeline. It was gathered that Seplat Petroleum has shut down oilfields located in its three operated acreages in the Western Niger Delta.

It also learnt that the company shut down its flowstations at Oben in OML 4, Amukpe in OML 38 and Sapele in OML 41, because of a leak caused by sabotage on the Odidi axis of the pipeline. Shoreline Resources, Neconde, and First Hydrocarbon Nigeria were also said to have shut down OML 30, 42 and 26, respectively.

OML 42 is also made up of Odidi, Ajuju and Jones Creek fields, which were vandalised during the militancy years, resulting in the sale of the 45 per cent stake to Neconde by Shell, Total and Eni.

Investigation also revealed that NPDC also shut down about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and also reported 592.91million standard cubic feet per day of gas production at the weekend representing, a shortfall of about 110mmscf/d due to the vandalism
Though marginal field producers such as Pillar Oil, Midwestern Oil and Gas, Platform Petroleum and Energia also convey their crude through the affected pipeline, it was gathered that these three companies have another alternative routes through the pipelines operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, to carry their crude oil to Brass Export Terminal.

The closure of the Trans-Forcados oil pipeline earlier this year due to sabotage led to a drop in power generation by 1,500 megawatts. The pipeline is a crude oil facility, but gas fields that supply gas to power stations had to be shut down because the liquid condensate they produce together with gas is normally evacuated through the pipeline.

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