Oil giants, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron have shut-in over 100, 000 barrels a day from their operations in Nigeria.
While Shell said on Wednesday that it has shut down operation on its Amukpe pipeline, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria after the facility exploded killing six Nigerian contract workers, a crude oil pipeline that feeds into the Chevron-operated Escravos export terminal in Delta state was also attacked last Friday.
The Shell’s pipeline accident occurred last Thursday while the workers were repairing the pipeline, and Shell’s spokesman, Precious Okolobo who stated this maintained that the company has also began a full-scale investigation to unravel what led to the incident.
"The fire has been extinguished and we are conducting an investigation into the matter," Okolobo declared.
More than one fifth of the Nigeria’s oil production, it would be recalled, has been shutdown since early 2006, mainly due to militant attacks and sabotage from armed gangs.
A Nigerian crude oil pipeline was sabotaged in the Niger Delta while 22 Filipinos were arrested after their ship was intercepted for carrying stolen oil, a military spokesman said.
"The details are still scanty and we are gathering more information," spokesman Rabe Abubakar said.
A Chevron spokesman said production had been shut down but did not give any figures. One security source said 100,000 barrels per day of the OPEC member’s oil output had been cut because of the attack.
Attacks by militants have cut one-fifth of Nigeria’s oil production since early 2006.
Security sources said the pipeline was located in Abiteye, where community members have attacked oil facilities in the past.
Armed youths blew up the Abiteye-Olero crude pipeline in June, forcing Chevron to cut around 120,000 bpd for nearly a month.
Networks of armed gangs have taken advantage of the breakdown in law and order to steal industrial quantities of crude oil – known locally as "bunkering" – part of an illegal international trade worth millions of dollars a day.
In a separate incident, the military said its navy had arrested 22 Filipinos after intercepting a vessel suspected of carrying stolen crude oil in the delta, the heart of Nigeria’s oil sector.
Gunboats intercepted the MT Akuada in the waters off of Escravos, the same region where Friday’s pipeline attack occurred.
"Preliminary investigation conducted onboard the ship revealed that the … product it was conveying was illegally bunkered from Bedfut point in Delta state by crude oil thieves," the military’s Abubaker said, adding that the vessel held 12,000 tonnes of oil.
Some estimates put the amount of crude stolen from the Niger Delta at 100,000 bpd, equivalent to around $5.6 million daily or $2 billion a year at current prices. It is shipped out of Nigeria and sold on the international market.