By OBAFEMI OREDEIN
IBADAN -- Shell's Nigerian unit has shut a trunk line of the Trans Niger Pipeline following a leak, barely a week after reopening it, the company said.
The latest incident underscores how, despite a government crackdown, oil theft remains a persistent problem in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, and continues to disrupt its crude supply.
The 24 inch trunk line, which is part of a broader pipeline route that carries 150,000 bpd of oil through the Niger Delta to the Bonny terminal, was shut.
The company said in a statement that "with the 28 inch TNP already shut in for removal of illegal theft connections, a total of about 150,000 barrels per day of oil have been deferred."
The statement said "Details of this latest incident including cause and size of spill are unclear at the moment, but the TNP has been variously targeted by crude oil thieves in recent months and shut down several times to enable the removal of theft points."
The statement said the relevant authorities have been notified of the incident and Shell's Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Co (SPDC), is "mobilizing to respond as quickly as possible with a joint investigation visit and repairs, preparatory to clean up."
The TNP was shut down last month following an explosion and fire at a point that had been targeted by oil thieves at Bodo West in the Niger Delta's Ogoniland.
SPDC said it reopened the TNP 24-inch pipeline last week after it had repaired the point where crude oil theft led to an explosion and removed six crude oil connections where thieves had tapped in.Dow Jones Newswires