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Shell traces 90% of pipeline leaks to illegal activities, sabotage at Lagos workshop

…As Wike warns host communities over shutdown of oil exploration

Foremost international oil company, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has once again affirmed that 90 per cent of pipeline leaks are linked to illegal activities of locals in connivance with industry criminals.
The company further noted that the sabotage spill rate which rose steeply and crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network averaging 11,000 barrels per day in 2018 are not reducing even till now.
This is as the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, has warned host communities in the state to desist from taking the law into their hands and shutting down the operations of an oil servicing company in the state.
He gave the warning during a visit of the affected company to his office in Port Harcourt and assured that his government will mediate to find a lasting solution to the prevailing faceoff.
In his presentation at a recent Media Workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism in Lagos, General Manager, External Relations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Igo Weli, said continuous sabotage of oil activities to people and environment, and attendant loss of revenue remain a drawback to meeting target yearly earnings both to the Federal Government and operating firms in Niger Delta.
However, he was quick to note that Shell Nigeria has called for stakeholders’ support to curb the incessant vandalism of crude oil pipelines, saying such concerted efforts will save lives, secure communities and protect the environment.
Weli averred that “Shell is concerned the repeated sabotage of recently repaired pipelines exposes the environment and people to renewed and worsening pollution. Oil theft is focused on short term fiscal benefits, ignoring the long-term effects of environmental degradation.
“Since 2017, sabotage spill rate has risen steeply and crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network averaged 11,000 barrels per day in 2018, an increase of about 20% over previous year. The number of sabotage-related spills increased in 2018 to 111 compared to 62 in 2017, and, since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points.”
“In line with industry regulations, SPDC only pays compensation if the spill is operational.”
On the ongoing UNEP Report-guided Ogoni Clean Up, Weli said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette, and the agreed governance framework.
“The SPDC JV has completed its first-year contribution of $180 million (N54.54 billion). Early 2017, the SPDC JV made available $10 million to help set up HYPREP office and in July 2018, joint venture deposited additional $170 million (N51.52 billion) into an escrow account to fund HYPREP’s activities.”
However, on pipeline security, SPDC restated that it is still collaborating with communities to effectively patrol pipelines’ rights-of-way through direct surveillance in partnership with government security agencies to prevent crude theft and vandalism.
Apart from driving the provisions of GMoU surveillance, Shell said it regularly carries out awareness campaigns to educate community members, surveillance contractors and general public of the requirements of the 1990 Pipeline Act which prohibits any third-party activities 100ft from existing oil and gas right-of-way.
Corroborating Weli’s argument, Shell’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said “SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities.”
She averred further that “SPDC implements work programmes to appraise condition of, maintain and replace key sections of pipelines and flowlines. In 2018, for example, we installed 70 kilometres of pipelines, and 188 kilometres of flowlines. Over the last seven years, SPDC has replaced approximately 1,300 kilometres distance of flow lines and pipelines.”