Oil pipeline operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has been blown up by rebels in the Niger Delta. This incident is said to be in response to the drums of stolen crude oil that has been seized from the rebels in the past two months.
While the Joint Task Force of the Nigerian Army has been effective in retrieving stolen drums of oil, the oil thieves have sought to vandalism. Blowing up the crude oil pipeline is said to be in fulfillment of rebel threats to destroy oil plants and facilities if their seized stolen oil drums were not released but the Nigerian joint Task Force says it would not release the barges to the oil thieves for any reason.
The insights on the attacks have not been completely looked into. Mr. Tony Okonedo who is the spokesperson of the Shell Petroleum Development Company was quoted as saying, “We are investigating reports of a possible incident on one of our pipelines in Western operations, and cannot comment just yet”.
However, the Delta Waterways and Security Committee (DWSC), have sent out officials to the area to find out what happened.
If the attack is confirmed, Shell petroleum may have to shut down its North Bank and South Bank operations, including the crude oil line to the Forcados Terminal, reports claim.
Last week, Nigeria’s inability to fund its oil related issues prompted the Royal Dutch Shell to pledge its assistance to Nigeria through a US$3 billion to help put an end to an environmentally damaging gas flaring situation in the Niger Delta.
According to reports as many as 100,000 barrels are stolen each day by miscreants in the Niger Delta who bore holes in oil pipelines or siphon the oil in commercial amounts directly from wellheads. The stolen oil is then, reportedly, exported by barges to South America and Eastern Europe, where they are are sold on the black market.
The London-based Times has claimed that oil companies in Nigeria are losing as much as $1.6 billion of crude a year to theft.