Royal Dutch Shell declared force majeure on Nigerian Bonny crude oil lifting for May and June on Friday as a result of leaks and fire on its Trans Niger pipeline, which was shut down on Wednesday.
The Anglo-Dutch firm declined to specify how much production was affected but an industry source told Reuters the pipeline had a supply capacity of 150,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Bonny Light crude exports had been expected to average 158,000 bpd in May and 152,000 bpd in June, according to loading programmes.
“Several incidents were detected on the sections of the pipeline at Bodo West and Bera. Preliminary investigations indicate that they were caused by crude theft activities,” the company’s Nigerian SPDC unit said in a statement.
“SPDC is working hard to repair and return the line to production as soon as possible,” it said.
Bonny Light crude is a sweet Nigerian oil that is popular with U.S. and European refiners.
Shell said on Thursday it was forced to cut some oil output in Nigeria to extinguish the fires on the Trans Niger pipeline at Ogoniland in Rivers state.
Shell suspended oil production in Ogoniland in 1993 but some of its facilities, including the damaged pipeline, pass through the area, feeding crude to its Bonny export terminal.
An amnesty programme brokered last year led thousands of gunmen to lay down their weapons in the restive Niger Delta, but the programme has stalled.
Industry sources say there has been a sharp rise in bunkering — the theft of industrial quantities of crude oil — and illegal refining, as militants who took part in the amnesty but have not been retrained seek other sources of income.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS