Oil companies in Nigeria have been immensely affected by the increase in pipeline vandalism and oil theft in Niger Delta. The alarming increase poses as a threat to the Nigerian oil sector and in effect, the economy.
According to an investigation carried out by Vanguard, both local and international oil companies have been terribly affected. A report obtained from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, indicated that the company, apparently the highest producer with over 600,000 barrels per day, bpd, experienced 39 cases of vandalism and oil theft between January – April 2019.
A breakdown showed that twelve, fifteen, eight and four incidents were recorded in January, February, March and April 2019 respectively.
In its latest Briefing Notes, Shell stated: “Security remains a high priority due to continued crude oil theft and criminality in parts of the Niger Delta. Illegal refining and third-party interference are the main sources of pollution in the Niger Delta today. Third party interference caused close to 90% of the number of spills of more than 100 kilograms from The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited operated Joint Venture (SPDC JV) pipelines in 2018”.
The investigation also showed that at about 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019, a fire was observed at the Ojumole Well No. 1, an idle and plugged well with no flowline connected to it. A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the site of the incident on Saturday, April 20, 2019, by a team, made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), determined that the fire incident was caused by third-party interference.
Recently, Aiteo Group shut down its just opened pipeline due to leaks which are suspected to be as a result of third-party interference.