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Hope for power as Shell repairs gas pipeline

By Hector Igbikiowubo
LAGOS — SHELL Petroleum Development Company’s Joint Venture Trans-Niger Delta pipeline has re-opened after being shut for repair of leaks which occurred on Tuesday owing to the activities of vandals.

The Afam V1 power plant, operated by Shell, has also resumed operations following resumption of gas supplies.
Precious Okolobo, one of the spokesmen of SPDC, confirmed the development when contacted yesterday, adding that oil and gas producing stations which were shut as a result of the leaks have since resumed production.
Investigations showed that the two leaks were caused by illegal bunkering activities.

Although the company did not disclose the volume of crude oil affected by the shut in, Vanguard gathered that up to 120,000 barrels per day was affected.

A company official who did not want his name in print also explained that because the leak was immediately remedied, no force majeure was declared.

This year alone, the company had to shut down its newly built $1.3 billion Afam VI gas power plant for several months owing to a cut in gas supply.

On October 11, 2008, the power station began power production. The gas supply crisis has also impacted Afam I to IV units operating in PHCN’s side of the Afam power plant.

Earlier in the year, Ann Pickard, Shell’s executive vice-president Africa, stated that the power station had been producing 300 megawatts (MW) from the beginning of 2009.

PHCN also usually produces 75 MW from Afam I to IV units resulting in a total loss of 375 MW.
A fire incident on the Bomu manifold on Trans-Niger pipeline in Ogoniland had also resulted in the shut down of the Afam VI power plant.

Shell could not sustain gas supply from Okoloma gas plant to Afam VI without an outlet for condensate evacuation.
The attack on the trans-Niger Delta pipeline on Tuesday came as a surprise especially in the face of the supposed success recorded by the amnesty initiative for militants in the Niger Delta.

When contacted, an operative of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, feigned ignorance of the development, noting that the group had extended its unilateral ceasefire and could not have been party to any attack.

The operative urged government to keep its promise to repentant militants, while committing to genuine dialogue with the true representatives of the group or risk return to a more deadly phase of the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta.


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