Shell Petroleum Development Company has disclosed that its operation is still threatened by insecurity in the Niger Delta.
The company indicated in its latest report that crude oil theft, sabotage and related damage to oil and gas facilities continue to present significant security concerns in parts of the Niger Delta, as well as environmental damage, which is aggravated by the proliferation of illegal refineries in the area.
It stated that illegal refining and third-party interference are the main sources of pollution in the Niger Delta today.
According to the report, third-party interference is the cause of 90% of the number of spills of more than 100 kilograms from The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited operated Joint Venture (SPDC JV) pipelines in 2016.
It stated that security in parts of the Niger Delta remains a major concern with persisting incidents of criminality, vandalism, threats from self-described militant groups, host community agitations and offshore piracy.
The report disclosed that there were renewed acts of sabotage by self-described militant groups on oil and gas infrastructure in parts of the Niger Delta in 2016, which severely impacted oil and gas operations. For example, export operations at the SPDC- operated Forcados Oil Terminal (FOT) were disrupted after three sabotage incidents in 2016.
It disclosed that this resulted in loss of revenue, particularly for domestic producers who rely on the FOT for export.
The report stated that facilities operated by both indigenous and international oil and gas companies were vandalised by attacks and other illegal activities such as crude oil theft, which led to a sharp decline in oil and gas production and incidents of environmental contamination.
It stated that the consequences included a loss of revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria and major disruptions to gas supply to power electricity for industry, businesses and public sector services.
The report indicated that the safety of staff and contractors in Nigeria remains the top priority.
It stated that Shell Companies in Nigeria aim to mitigate security risks that may impact people, the environment and assets - thus operations are carried out only where it is safe to do so.
"We continue to deploy in-country expertise to mitigate security risks around our operations. We also continue to engage with the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as local communities, to help promote human rights and a peaceful and safe operating environment.
"Oil spills due to crude oil theft and sabotage of facilities (referred to as thirdparty interference), as well as illegal refining cause the most environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta. Irrespective of cause, the SPDC JV cleans up and remediates areas affected by spills originating from its facilities. The spills are sometimes made worse where there are access challenges to the incident sites to investigate and stop leaks. Third-party interference on pipelines and other infrastructure was responsible for 90% of oil spill incidents of more than 100 kilograms from SPDC JV facilities in 2016.
"Crude oil theft on the pipeline network resulted in a loss of about 5,660 barrels of oil a day (bbl/d) in 2016, which is less than the 25,000 bbl/d in 2015. The number of sabotage-related spills declined to 45* compared with 93 in 2015.
"The reduction in oil theft and sabotage-related spills from the previous year can be attributed to continued improvements in air and ground surveillance and response by government security forces, lower production levels at SPDC JV operations in the Western part of the Niger Delta due to acts of sabotage and the divestment in 2015 of the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL).
"A key priority for Shell is to achieve the goal of no spills from its operations. No spill is acceptable and we work hard to prevent them. Shell Companies in Nigeria operate under the same standards as all other Shell-operated ventures globally. Regrettably, in addition to spills caused by criminal activity there were seven operational spills of more than 100 kilograms in volume from Shell Companies in Nigeria facilities during 2016. This number is less than the 16 spills in 2015, due to continued progress on preventing operational spills, such as regular inspections and maintenance of pipelines."