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Nigerian Oilfield Shut Down after Oil Spill

Oil production at Nigeria’s OML 29 onshore field has been shut down as a precautionary measure after an oil spill was detected earlier this week, the field’s operator Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO) said on Wednesday.  

“This is a precautionary measure while mobilising additional resources to contain the spill. The cause of the spill is currently undetermined,” the company said in a statement carried by Nigerian daily This Day.

“We are proactively engaging with stakeholders to mitigate the immediate effects,” Aiteo added.  

The leak was detected on Monday and the company’s Oil Spill and Emergency Response Team was immediately activated to respond to the spill.

According to Nigerian media, the leak occurred on Monday at a section of the 97-kilometre (60-mile) Nembe Creek Trunk Line that supplies crude to the Bonny Oil Export Terminal.

The field shutdown due to a leak is a setback for Nigeria’s oil sector, which is looking to stem leaks and spills, oil theft, and vandalism in the onshore oil-producing fields.

Raising oil production has been a key priority for the Nigerian federal government, which aims to thus boost revenues and foreign exchange reserves.

Oil theft and pipeline vandalism have long plagued Nigeria’s upstream oil and gas industry, driving majors out of the country and often resulting in force majeure at the key crude oil export terminals.

But OPEC member Nigeria aims to ramp up its oil production in the coming months and years.

Nigeria’s oil production has started to recover in recent months and hit in February its highest level in more than three years amid a concerted effort to crack down on targeted attacks and organized theft rings.

Nigeria needs annual investments of $25 billion to reach and keep its output at around 2 million barrels per day (bpd), Nigerian oil industry executive Austin Avuru said last month.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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