Oil Thieves Drive Shell to Distraction as Company Plans Pipeline Sale

Oil thieves, made up of local and international persons drilled holes into a Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline this week, forcing the company to shut it down to stop the leaking, the company said Thursday.
“We closed the Nembe Creek Trunkline on Sunday for the removal of crude theft points,” a spokesman of Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria, Precious Okolobo, told Dow Jones Newswires. “We plan to complete the exercise and reopen the line as soon as possible.”
The amount of crude lost is unknown.
The pipeline transports 150,000 barrels of oil a day and has been closed many times due to theft since Shell replaced it in December 2010 for $1.1 billion.
Last year, Mutiu Sunmonu, head of Shell’s Nigerian unit, said the attacks on the Nembe Creek pipeline have been “unprecedented… more than 60,000 barrels of oil are being stolen a day, resulting in frequent production shutdowns and massive oil spills blighting the ecosystem.”
Shell announced intentions to sell the 97-kilometer pipeline in late 2013, due to persistent losses from theft and destruction.

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