Oil spills recorded by Shell Petroleum, the largest petroleum producer in Nigeria, increased month-on-month, MoM, by 100 per cent to 12 in February 2023, from six recorded in the preceding month of January 2023.
Also, on year-on-year, YoY, the incidents rose by 33.3 per cent to 12 in February 2023, from nine recorded in the corresponding period of 2022.
The development, mainly attributed to sabotage, culminated in the loss of commercial quantity of crude oil, thus impacting revenue and the environment.
In its latest Oil Spill Data, obtained by Vanguard, weekend, Shell Petroleum disclosed that the incidents occurred at different locations, including Yokri well flowline at Yokri, Ogale-Bomu pipeline at Kpite, Rumuekpe Nkpoku pipeline at Ibaa, Kolocreek-Rumuekpe pipeline at Odau and Gbaran flowline at Opolo during the period.
In its Briefing Notes, the company, stated: “Shell Companies in Nigeria have a track record of strong production but in 2021, the combined production from the SPDC Joint Venture, JV, and SNEPCo (Bonga) fell to 493,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 614,000 in 2020.
“The SPDC JV produced 383,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, compared with 497,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2020. The fall in output was largely a result of curtailed oil production because of heightened security issues, such as crude oil theft and illegal oil refining.
“Production numbers were also down as a result of divestment action, including the sale of SPDC’s 30% interest in OML 17 for $533 million.
“In the last quarter of 2021, crude oil theft from pipelines across the region increased ostensibly as a result of rising oil prices, which made the activity more profitable. Security risks have heightened and production in some areas has been put on hold.
“The situation is impacting operators across the Niger Delta. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has reported that crude thefts in 2021 reached 200,000 barrels per day – a quarter of onshore production.
“The SPDC JV declared a force majeure on its Bonny export programme with effect from March 3, 2022. The declaration of force majeure was on account of significantly lower deliveries of crude oil to the Bonny Terminal because of theft from illegal connections to pipelines.
“Offshore in the deep waters of the Gulf of Guinea, production at SNEPCo’s Bonga field continued steadily but not without its own challenges. Production fell to 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 117,000 barrels in 2020. This was because of repairs on two production lines in 2021.
“The five-year average production for SPDC and SNEPCo is 606,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. We have announced our intention to reduce our involvement in onshore oil and gas production in Nigeria and to focus future investment on our deep-water and gas positions. This aligns with Shell’s Powering Progress strategy. We are in discussion with the Nigerian government and other stakeholders on how this can be best achieved.”
Commenting on the development in a telephone interview with Vanguard, weekend, the National President of the Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, Mazi Colman Obasi, called on the government to work towards tackling oil theft and other vices in the industry.
He said: “The incoming administration should work towards the tackling of many vices in the oil and gas industry, especially pipeline vandalism, oil theft, and illegal refining that have already culminated in losses of commercial oil, revenues, and environmental pollution.
“Much conscious effort should be made to stimulate and sustain the development of communities in order to create sustainable peace for oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta and other emerging petroleum-bearing states.”
Similarly, in his Economic agenda for the next administration, the Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr. Muda Yusuf, called on the government to wage a relentless war against oil theft in Nigeria.