LONDON/LAGOS (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday it has been forced to shut in its Nigerian Bonny Light crude exports to repair pipeline damage caused by a recent spate of hacksaw attacks.
Trade sources said the entire Bonny Light programme has been withdrawn following the force majeure.
Nigeria’s crude loading programme showed the export volume of Bonny Light crude was to average 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September and 216,000 bpd in October.
Traders said Nigeria’s total exports would fall from planned export volume of about 2 million bpd in September and 1.85 million bpd in October.
Shell said in a statement Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports until October, just 6 weeks after its export was normalised after the previous repair work.
“The declaration which came into effect today (August 23) is due to production deferment from several pipeline incidents in Eastern operations,” the oil major said in the statement.
“In one instance, SPDC recorded six separate oil spill incidents on the Okordia - Rumuekpe trunk line at Ikarama in Bayelsa State, between August 2 and 15 this year, all from hacksaw cuts by unknown persons,” it said.
“On August 21, another three hacksaw cuts were reported on the nearby Adibawa delivery line. Some production is shut in while SPDC repairs the line.”
Shell, which operates the Bonny terminal declined to specify the shut in volume.
In general, force majeure frees an operator from contract obligations. Shell is the operator of the Bonny terminal and the oil is produced from Shell and Chevron concessions.
Nigeria produces mostly light sweet crude, which is widely exported to North and South America, Asia and Europe. Bonny Light is one of the county’s key crude streams.
Replacement demand for Nigerian crude has risen since the disruption of oil exports from war-torn Libya.
But Shell and Bonny Light has been hit by recent setbacks. Shell lifted the previous force majeure on Bonny Light in mid-July, following the repair work to the pipeline damage caused by similar hacksaw attacks in June.
Earlier in August, Shell’s Gannet Alpha oil platform spilled oil into the North Sea.