Explosion at Nigeria Oil Pipeline Kills 12, Shell Blames Crude Oil Theft for the Tragedy

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Explosion at Nigeria Oil Pipeline Kills 12, Shell Blames Crude Oil Theft for the Tragedy

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Flag of Nigeria covered in oil (© Shutterstock/Mehaniq)
Flag of Nigeria covered in oil (© Shutterstock/Mehaniq)

Shell blames crude oil theft for an explosion at Nigeria’s oil pipeline in Rumuekpe community, Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. The explosion that occurred in the early hours of March 3, sparked fire,  leaving 12 dead, according to the Rivers State Police report.

According to Reuters reports, the spokesperson of Shell Petroleum Development (SPD) company of Nigeria Limited said on Friday that Shell-owned Rumuekpe-Nkpoku Trunk Line in Rivers State was under fire, and the company was working with authorities to put it off.

The problematic Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP)—Nigeria’s major crude oil pipeline, stayed in a force majeure for a significant period in 2022. With the capacity to transport up to 180,000 barrels of crude per day to the Bonny Export Terminal, the pipeline plays a critical role in Nigeria’s energy export efforts.

“The report of the government-led Joint Investigation Visit team, which included representatives of the community, ascertained that the fire, which has been extinguished, occurred at the site of an illegal connection used for crude theft. The Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line, which was not operational at the time of the incident, is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline,” SPDC Spokesperson Mr. Michael Adande said in a statement quoted by Sweetcrudereport on Monday, March 6, 2022.

The Director General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, Idris Musa revealed on Saturday that NOSDRA had launched a probe into the Shell’s Trans Niger Pipeline fire incident. However, the findings are yet to be shared with the public.

With pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft being the greatest threat to the country’s oil industry, the threats have hobbed Nigeria’s ability to meet its OPEC quota for more than a year due to a drop in the country’s oil production to approximately 900,000 barrels per day in the previous quarter.

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