Published On: Thu, Apr 4th, 2013

Agip Shuts Down Pipeline in Bayelsa Over Oil Theft

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Eni, the Italian oil major which operates in Nigeria as Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), has suspended activities at its swampy oil fields located in oil-rich Bayelsa state over oil theft.
Eni said it was losing about 7,000 barrels of crude production daily to oil thieves in Bayelsa from the facility which produces about 40,000 barrels of crude oil daily .
According to the firm, frequent spills to oil theft by vandals have caused it to shut down operations to prevent further damages to the environment. It described the recent development as unsustainable; thereby necessitating the shutdown.

Oil spill began on February 20 at NAOC’s pipeline network in Kalaba community in Yenagoa. On March 3, the Ikarama community, a neighboring community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State reported another oil spill at the Taylor creek oil well.
The oil firm said it authorised the suspension of operations on March 22 and subsequently declared ‘Force Majeure’ (a legal notice that absolves an oil firm of liabilities for failure to meet supply obligations to crude buyers due to circumstances beyond the firm’s control) on its oil output from the facility on March 23.
“Eni confirms that during the night between 21 and 22 March, the company has declared force majeure and ordered the closure of its onshore activities in the Swamp Area, located in Bayelsa State in Nigeria,” the firm said in a statement.
It added that “The decision was made due to the intensified bunkering, consisting in the sabotage of pipelines and the theft of crude oil, which has recently reached unsustainable levels regarding both personal safety and damage to the environment.”
“Sustainability is for Eni a priority in Nigeria, as in all the countries in which it operates. Eni has always promoted and carried out in the country several social and environmental initiatives in co-operation with national and local authorities,” it said.
Meanwhile, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) President, Babatunde Ogun at a joint forum with the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Lagos last week asserted that Nigeria loses $6 billion annually to crude oil theft while N105 billion ($662 million) is lost to theft of refined products.
“This is a threat to our national security and our democracy. If this kind of huge amount of money gets into the wrong hands, it can destabilise our democracy and national security,” Ogun said.
He therefore called on the government to beef-up security.
Nigeria’s Africa’s largest oil producer and the 7th largest in the world. However, an increasing uproar is being caused by extensive oil theft which has recently caused damage to a number of pipelines, resulting not only in oil spills, but stoppages to production by some of the largest producers.
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