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The Tide (Nigeria): Shell loses 540,000 barrels in three days: Posted Saturday 24 December 2005

 

Nelson Chukwudi Friday, December 23, 2005

 

Barely three days after an attack on a 28-inch crude oil pipeline in the Opobo Channel belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, The Tide can now confirm that the company has lost about 540,000 barrels of crude in production deferments.

 

It is, however, not clear what volume of crude has been spilt following the attack on the pipeline in a river said to be in Andoni local government area of Rivers State.

 

The Tide investigations show that in addition to the attack on the 28-inch pipeline on the Opobo Channel, there were two other similar attacks within the period around the same circumference.

 

The other incidents include an attack on a 24-inch pipeline conveying some 10,000 barrels per day crude oil from Shell's Bonny export terminal to Port Harcourt Refinery Company's facility at Alesa-Eleme, and another attack on a pipeline belonging to Nigerian Gas Company, both subsidiaries of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

 

It was gathered that while the 28-inch pipeline on Opobo Channel pumps 170,000 barrels of crude oil per day, the 24-inch pipeline from Bonny terminal to the refinery pumps some 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day, which brings the total crude involvement to 180,000 barrels per day.

 

Sources told The Tide that the joint investigation team, which confirmed the additional incidents, was already working round the clock to bring the desperate situation under control.

 

According to sources, the spate of and the well co-ordinated manner in which the attacks were executed, were already giving governmentthe affected companies and security agencies some concern.

 

Meanwhile, the Shell management has mobilised a team of fire fighters to the site of the major pipeline explosion at Opobo Channel to try and put out the raging inferno on the 28-inch crude oil pipeline.

 

As at the time of filing this report last night, it could not be confirmed whether the fire fighters, who moved in to site yesterday, have put out the huge fire.

 

Sources said that, because of the location of explosion site, it could take fire fighters hours or even days to put out the flame.

 

It would be recalled that shortly after the explosion last Tuesday, Shell mobilised medical experts and relief workers on standby to respond to any emergent cases resulting from the incident.

 

The medical experts and relief workers, The Tide gathered yesterday, have already swung into action to arrest any situation desiring immediate response and care.

 

It is not confirmed yet if any life was lost as a result of the explosion.

 

Following the explosion and subsequent fire, SPDC, the operator of NNPC, Shell, Elf and Agip joint venture, had shut in production from its Diebu Creek and Nun River fields as well as all land area facilities in the Eastern Division operations except Rumuekpe in deferment to check the continued pumping of crude oil through the 28-inch pipeline, and the likely devastation and pollution the incident may cause to biodiversity and the entire eco-system in the area.

 

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