Shell shuts Trans Niger pipeline again

Oil theft: Shell estimates the total daily loss from the shutdown of the Trans Niger pipeline is about $15 million

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has closed a key oil pipeline in Nigeria due to oil theft less than a week after it announced it had reopened.

The company said on Friday that leaks from crude theft on the Trans Niger pipeline have continued, causing a further shut-in of Nigeria's benchmark Bonny Light crude oil grade.

Shell only just re-opened the 150,000 barrel-per-day pipeline at the start of last week after it had been shut for almost two months. A force majeure declared in April on the Bonny Light crude oil grade remained in place.

An estimated 100,000 bpd of oil was stolen from pipelines in the Niger Delta in the first quarter of this year, Reuters said, citing a report by London-based Chatham House. This figure does not include the unknown quantities stolen from export terminals.

According to the news wire, Shell said the latest shut-in occurred on 18 September “following reports of a leaking crude theft point at Bodo West in Ogoniland”.

The supermajor’s statement said the Nembe Creek trunkline was also closed as Shell was removing illegal connections.

In the western Niger Delta, the Trans Escravos pipeline was shut on 12 September and reopened on 16 September following the removal of illegal connections.

“While the Trans Niger pipeline has since been repaired and reopened from the crude theft leaks which forced its closure on July 16, similar incidents have caused several shut-ins thereafter,” Shell said in a statement.

The supermajor’s Nigerian business, Shell Petroleum Development Company stated in July that the total daily loss from the shutdown of the pipeline was estimated at around $15 million.

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