A key oil pipeline and a logistics base in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta have been impacted by a shutdown and protests, the operator of the facilities said on Monday, in the latest incident that has been disrupting the Nigerian oil industry in recent weeks.
The Nembe Creek Trunk Line—one of the two key pipelines of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude grade capable of transporting 150,000 bpd to the export terminal—was shut down on Sunday after leaks were detected, operator Aiteo said on Monday.
At the same time, protesters briefly blocked the company’s logistics base, and after talks with the firm they agreed to retreat from blocking the logistics base and table their demands to the firm, Aiteo said, as quoted by Reuters.
The company, however, has not provided information regarding the possible impact on Nigerian oil exports or when operations and the pipeline flow would return to normal.
Leaks in pipelines the Niger Delta are often caused by oil theft and operators have frequently declared force majeure on exports of key Nigerian crude grades.
Last month, Aiteo declared force majeure on the same Nembe Creek Trunk Line, due to a fire suspected to have been the result of an illegal third-party breach. Before the fire broke out, the Nembe Creek Trunk Line was operating smoothly, which raises suspicion that the fire was the result of an “illegitimate, third-party breach of the functionality of the pipeline,” the statement by Aiteo spokesman Ndiana Matthew said.
A few days later, Aiteo said that it had discovered that sabotage was the cause of the fire that caused Nigeria’s oil production to fall 8 percent per day.
Last week, Shell declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports, while exports of Amenam, operated by France’s Total, were also under force majeure, trading sources told Reuters last Monday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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