Italian energy company, Eni, which operates in Nigeria as Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has started closing some flow stations after shutting down a key pipeline in the eastern Niger Delta.
This development, which was caused by pipeline fire, came barely two weeks after a large amount of crude oil was spilled near the company’s facility during the loading of crude oil into export tanker.
Eni’s spokesman was quoted as saying at the weekend that the fire occurred at the Tebidaba-Brass Pipeline in Bayelsa State.
The spokesman, however, declined to disclose how much production would be lost.
But about 47,000 barrels per day of crude oil was deferred in a similar shutdown of the Tebidaba-Brass pipeline in the past.
“At the moment we do not have information on the cause (of fire). We have promptly started the shut-in operations for the flow stations related to the pipeline,” said Eni spokesman.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the eastern Niger Delta have faced increased damage on their pipelines by crude oil thieves and vandals.
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Eni are the worst hit by pipeline fire and crude oil thieves, who use hacksaws to perforate the lines to steal crude oil.
Nigeria is losing an estimated 400,000 bpd of crude oil due to production deferment as a result of fire and theft.
Theft and pipeline sabotage have resulted to large amount of crude oil spilling into the environment.
SPDC plans to offer the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) also in Bayelsa State for sale as a result of persisted fire and attacks by oil thieves, three years after it replaced the oil line at the cost of $1.1billion.
The NCTL and the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) are the company’s two major pipelines in the Eastern Niger Delta that transport crude oil production from SPDC and third parties in its Eastern operations to the Bonny Export Terminal in Rivers State. [Thisday]