Shell declares force majeure on export, plans Nembe field closure for repairs

The bulk of Nigeria’s crude theft and losses occur on the Nembe pipeline.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, on Friday declared “force majeure” on its oil exports, as it plans to shut down operations on its Nembe Creek pipeline system to enable it effect repairs on some sabotage portions.

“Force majeure” is an advanced notice usually issued by oil companies to their customers to inform that they would be unable to meet their scheduled contractual obligations in the event of unexpected developments that disrupt their operations beyond their control.

The planned shutdown of the 150,000 barrels per day facility, according to the company, scheduled for April, is expected to be “temporary and designed to give the company time to clear away illegal connections that have drained an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil a day from the line.”

Shell Nigeria Country Chair and Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu, said recently that the bulk of the an average of 180,000 barrels per day crude oil lost by the petroleum industry in Nigeria to vandals and theft came from its facilities in the Niger Delta in the last three years.

The bulk of the crude oil theft and losses occur on the Nembe pipeline, which carries Bonny Light crude, a high-grade crude blend produced in Nigeria by Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Shell said in its statement that no fewer than 90 illegal connections through which vandals tap crude oil were discovered along the 97-kilometre system, which it plans to shut down for repairs.

Earlier this month, Shell declared force majeure on its crude exports output after a leak on the system. The force majeure was lifted this week.

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