Nigeria’s crude oil production suffered fresh set back Monday as Trans Niger Pipeline, (TNP), which exports about 180, 000 barrels of crude oil per day was shut down as a precautionary measure after a fire was seen on the “right of way” at Gio community in Ogoni land, one of the two pipelines that export Bonny Light crude oil.
TNP transports crude oil to the Bonny Export Terminal and is part of the liquid gas evacuation infrastructure, critical for continued domestic power generation (Afam VI power plant) and liquefied gas exports.
According to the spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), the operator of the joint venture with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Precious Okolobo, “It was not yet clear whether export supplies will be subject to force majeure. A joint investigation visit will determine the cause and impact of the fire.”
The line is also the right of way for a Bonny-refinery pipeline belonging to the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC.
A project officer with a local environmental rights group, Kentebe Ibiaridor, said: “The fire is huge and still raging when I left, we do not know the cause of fire yet, whether it is sabotage or system failure.
Bonny Light crude is also exported through the Nembe Creek Trunk Line.
On Saturday, the Niger Delta Avengers, a group that has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on Nigerian oil infrastructure this year, said it had struck a Bonny Light pipeline, ending several weeks of calm under a ceasefire with the government.
A spokesman for the militants had said in an emailed statement that the attack on Saturday was in the sea near Bonny island, making it unclear whether the incidents were related.
Recall that SPDC shut down the Trans Niger Pipeline on the 11th of July 2016, following a leak at same location in Ogoniland, and SPDC said then that the line was shut down following a leak at Gio in Ogoniland.
The joint probe of the leaks and corresponding spills is done with the federal government agency, the Nigeria Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The other major pipeline, the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) that transports Bonny Light to port was operating normally, several industry sources said. Local upstream firm, Aiteo, operates the NCTL.
The force majeure had been announced after a leak was found on the NCTL on May 11.