LAGOS (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell's Nigerian subsidiary said Monday it has been forced to defer exports of 150,000 barrels of oil per day after thieves sabotaged its main pipeline.
Five hundred million standard cubic feet of gas per day have also been halted, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said in a statement.
It said the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) had been shut down for repairs after two separate incidences of crude oil theft in the southern Niger Delta region.
"Some 150,000 barrels of oil and 500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day are deferred," said the company, adding that the TNP had been forced to close five times since early July due to theft.
Oil theft is a major problem in Nigeria, and SPDC has consistently blamed its losses on thieves breaking into its pipelines.
However, environmental activists argue that Shell does not do enough to prevent such incidents and effectively clean up the damage when they do occur.
Negotiations between Shell and Nigerian residents affected by two oil spills in 2008 failed to reach a compensation deal this month, with residents' lawyers calling the oil giant's settlement offer "insulting".
Sources familiar with the September 13 talks said Shell proposed a settlement of 7.5 billion naira ($46 million, 35 million euros). Shell and lawyers for the community declined to discuss the total settlement amount.
The Delta region of Africa's largest crude producer is badly polluted from decades of oil spills, and those responsible have often not faced punishment.
Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil producer, pumping some two million barrels a day. Shell is the biggest producer in the west African country, where it has been drilling for over 50 years.