At a media workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State recently, Igo Weli, General Manager External Relations, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria Limited, revealed that “crude oil theft on the pipeline network resulted in a loss of around 11,000 barrels of oil a day in 2018, which is more than the approximate 9,000 bbl/d in 2017, adding that since 2012, SPDC had removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points on its joint venture pipelines in the Niger Delta.
With a daily loss of about 10,000 barrels of oil from its pipelines to crude oil theft, the SPDC has called on government, communities and other stakeholders to stem the incessant attack on oil assets in the Niger Delta.
“These are critical national assets with 55 per cent government interest and they produce the crude oil that accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and the bulk of government revenue. Hurting these assets means hurting the nation’s revenue, the economy of the states, the health of the people and the environment”.
In its June 2019 monthly report, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation which controls Nigeria’s 55 per cent interest in the SPDC JV said there was a 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism and that 106 pipeline breaches were recorded in June, up from 60 in May.
Weli said SPDC was concerned about the lives and safety of those involved in pipeline vandalism and crude theft just as the company was concerned about the environment. “As a responsible organisation, we put safety first and have constantly made this appeal to those involved in crude theft in the Niger Delta to stop destroying their land and heritage from the spill and pollution arising from their activities.”
He described crude oil theft and artisanal refining of stolen crude as criminal acts “that are not only against the law but are also capable of mortgaging the future of the community.”
Also, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, SPDC’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, who was represented by Temitope Ajibade, Compliance Monitoring Lead, noted that illegal refining and third-party interference with pipelines were the main sources of pollution in the Niger Delta. According to Nene-Anochie, in 2018 alone, “third party interference caused close to 90% of the number of spills of more than 100 kilogrammes from SPDC JV pipelines.”