By Yemie Adeoye
LAGOS — FOLLOWING incessant sabotage on crude oil lines by suspected oil thieves, the country’s crude oil production has dropped by 25,000 barrels per day after Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, said it shut, weekend, its Imo River Trunkline Eastern operations.
This came on the heels of discovery of several suspected crude theft points on the facility; hence production of some 25,000 barrels of oil per day had been deferred.
Shell spokesman, Mr Tony Okonedo, in a statement, yesterday, said the company shut in the producing stations and isolated the line on October 31, on discovering the first set of leaking points, as an additional leak from the remaining oil in the pipeline occurred about eight days later, when unknown persons installed more crude theft connections, some of which had failed.
Some six crude theft points had so far been confirmed on the 12-inch trunkline, of which three had been repaired. There had been 26 spills in the Imo River area so far this year; 25 were alleged due to sabotage, spilling nearly 3000 barrels into the environment.
Also speaking on the development, Shell’s Vice President for HSE and Corporate Affairs, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Tony Attah, said: “Ground visits showed that the oil had impacted rivers and other water bodies though we have managed to deploy containment booms and are now starting to recover spilled crude.”
The evidence is clear for all to see, that crude theft is bad for Nigeria, bad for the people, bad for the environment and bad for our business.”
Imo River Trunkline is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline, which suffered a similar fate at Mogho, when unknown persons installed two crude theft valves, yesterday, barely 24 hours after the last of such leaks was repaired at Biara, also in Ogoni land. The two crude theft valves had been closed and the line is being reopened.