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Shell Consider Closing Nigerian Oil Pipeline as Thefts Reach Unprecedented Level

Shell has claimed that theft of oil in Nigeria, especially along the Niger Delta, has reached such a high level that they may have to completely shut down their Nembe Creek oil pipeline, potentially costing the company 150,000 barrels of oil per day.

The Nembe pipeline is one of the largest and most important routes for Nigeria’s oil exports and closing it down could seriously affect the African nation’s economy.

Organised gangs of oil thieves tap into exposed pipelines in the creeks and gulleys of the Niger Delta, they then load the filched crude onto oil barges, transport them to larger ships offshore, and finally sell the product on the international market; the crude can also be refined locally.

Related article: East Africa Unites to Overcome Power Shortages

Between 22nd of February and 25th of February, the flow stations along the pipeline were shut down three times due to thefts.

Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell Nigeria’s managing director, said that, “it is getting to the crunch that rather than allow people to continue to attack my pipeline and devastate the environment, I may actually consider shutting the pipeline completely.

The situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented. The volume being stolen is the highest in the last three years; over 60,000 bpd from Shell alone.”

Whilst Shell would lose far more oil production by closing the pipeline, the added damage to the environment, fishing communities, and water sources, makes the decision a no brainer.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com


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  • anvetz on June 07 2013 said:
    The pipelines in Dar es Salaam are reaching same per-potions.
    If something constructive is not done to protect the pipelines, including the new SPM pipeline, Tanzania will suffer far-reaching economic consequences.

    The closure of fuel pipelines has the ability to force a country to its knees, bringing transport network to a standstill, and economical disaster.
    It is time for the Tanzanian government to take this matter serious, and implement the necessary legislation and steps to protect the pipelines.

    The money-hungry fuel companies are unwilling to lay out any of their huge profits to implement safety and security measures to protect the pipelines, but would rather put in more storage tanks, and more pipelines to move the fuel faster through there depots.

    One aspect that is not considered in any way at all is the safety of the lines, or more so the safety of the people living in or close to the areas of the pipelines.

    Let’s not forget the recent pipeline explosion in Kenya, where more than 200 people died, and many serious brut victims, still suffering today.

    Let’s pray this never happens in Tanzania.

    (Concerned expatriate resident to Dar es Salaam)

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