By Obafemi Oredein
Special to Dow Jones Newswires
IBADAN, Nigeria - Royal Dutch Shell PLC`s (ESDA,RDSA.LN) Nigerian unit said Monday it is losing 10,000 barrels of oil a day from its pipeline to crude oil theft in Nigeria`s Niger Delta region.
Crude oil theft on Shell Petroleum Development Co., or SPDC, pipeline network resulted in a loss of 11,000 barrels of oil a day in 2018, which is more than the 9,000 bbl/d in 2017, Igo Well, its general manager, external relations said in a statement.
He said since 2012, SPDC had removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points on its joint venture pipelines in the Niger Delta adding that the company "has cried out for help from government, communities and other stakeholders to stem the incessant attack on oil assets in the Niger Delta,"
Last month, a senior Nigerian official said about 22 million barrels of crude oil were stolen in Nigeria in the first six months of this year.
Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state in the Niger Delta said if nothing was done to curtail the theft the amount of stolen oil could double by the end of the year.
"These are critical national assets with 55 percent government interest and they produce the crude oil that accounts for over 90% of Nigeria's foreign exchange and the bulk of government revenue," Mr. Well said.
He said hurting these assets means hurting Nigeria`s revenue, the economy of the states, the health of the people and the environment, in a speech at a media workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital city where SPDC has its headquarters.
Nigeria, Africa`s largest oil exporter, has a long history of militancy and criminality that frequently force oil companies to shut down production but the sophisticated attacks on the country`s oil fields died down in the wake of a 2009 government amnesty for militants.
The truce came to an end some years ago with the emergence of the Niger Delta Avengers, an armed group, which carried out fresh attacks that reduced daily oil production drastically. This combined with low oil prices sent Nigeria into an economic recession in 2016.
The country is still struggling with a poor economy and new low oil prices. Crude oil theft that may result in severe shortfall in foreign exchange earnings could send the Nigeria back into another recession.
In its June 2019 monthly report, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp., which controls Nigeria's 55 percent interest in the SPDC JV said there was a 77% rise in oil pipeline vandalism and that 106 pipeline breaches were recorded in June, up from 60 in May.
-By Obafemi Oredein; Dow Jones Newswires
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