Shell's Nigerian Production Cut Due to Spill

Shell reported an oil spill from its UQCC/Rapele line in Nigeria's Delta State on Friday and will be shutting in approximately 30,000 bpd of Forcados crude. Shell said that the pipeline was sabotaged but declined to comment on who the saboteurs might be. A Shell statement said the oil spill has occurred on Shell Petroleum Development Company's 24-inch UQCC (Ughelli Quality Control Center)/Rapele trunk line near Uvwiamuge in Ughelli north local government area of Delta State.

The pipeline rupture caused Forcados production to drop back to around 250,000 bpd, down from near 300,000 bpd after output was gradually restored following ethnic violence in mid-March. Production is still below the normal rate of 440,000 bpd. The loss of 30,000 bpd of output should cause minimal loading delays and the loss of only about one cargo of the grade in a given month.

Shell said the spill was first noticed on Wednesday by staff checking reported signs of digging on the pipeline right of way. The company earlier said disturbed vegetation and very fresh excavation around the spill spot suggested sabotage. The investigative team found the cause of the spill to be sabotage. The affected line was isolated to stop further impact on the environment and repairs would take about a week. It is not yet possible to say how much production will be affected or what damage the spill had caused.