The Nigerian subsidiary of Royal-Dutch oil giant Shell has shut the 28-inch Bomu-Bonny Trunkline after discovering a fire on it early Sunday, the company said in a statement.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) said the line conveys crude oil to Bonny export Terminal, and that the shut-down would lead to 150,000 barrels of oil per day being deferred.
It said a burning vessel, thought to be involved in the theft of crude oil from the line, was sighted near the incident site, close to Okololunch community in the Eastern Niger Delta.
“This incident clearly demonstrates the scale of the oil theft problem which, alongside the hundreds of illegal refineries in the Delta, is having such a profound effect on the people, communities and the environment,” it quoted Shell’s Vice President for Health, Safety, Environment & Corporate Affairs, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tony Attah, as saying.
“Until these activities are brought to a halt, there will be no improvement in the environmental situation,” Attah said.
SPDC said it is mobilising to fight the fire, investigate the cause and carry out repairs.
The Bomu-Bonny trunk line is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline, which itself has been repeatedly targeted by crude thieves.
Last year, sabotage and crude oil theft were also the cause of 11,806 barrels spilled from SPDC facilities in 118 incidents.