Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shell Says Fire at Pipe to Nigeria's Bonny Terminal (Update3)

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, said two pipelines were on fire in Nigeria's Port Harcourt area, including one that transports crude to the Bonny export terminal.

A fire was discovered on Shell's Trans-Niger pipeline on March 30 and is still burning, Shell spokesman Rainer Winzenried said in a telephone interview from The Hague today. The pipeline transports oil from the Port Harcourt area to the terminal.

The pipeline is still operating and exports from the Bonny oil terminal are unaffected, Winzenried said. The terminal receives supplies from some of Shell's onshore fields in the eastern Niger Delta. Shell's firefighting unit will attempt to extinguish the fire today, Shell Nigeria spokesman Precious Okolobo said earlier.

``It's too early to tell if it will affect exports,'' Okolobo said. ``We don't know the cause for now, but it's close to where we had two pipeline fires last year that was caused by sabotage.''

A second fire broke out on a pipeline belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. which transports oil from the Bonny terminal to a refinery in Port Harcourt, Okolobo said. Shell spotted the fires by helicopter on March 30.

Militant Attacks

Armed militants claiming to be fighting for greater control of oil wealth for the impoverished inhabitants of the Niger Delta sometimes set fire to pipelines in their effort to cripple oil exports. No group claimed responsibility for the pipeline fires.

The Trans-Niger pipeline is run by Shell Petroleum Development Co., a joint venture owned 30 percent by Shell and 55 percent by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. Total SA 10 owns percent and Eni SpA 5 percent.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main armed group in the region, said today it will not be part of peace efforts being initiated by President Umaru Yar'Adua to end the unrest in the oil-rich southern delta unless its detained leader, Henry Okah, is freed. Okah is facing treason and gun-running charges.

``A summit without the basic ingredient of sincerity and the presence of key players such as Henry Okah and others marked for arrest is unacceptable,'' said the group, also known as MEND, in an e-mailed statement.

No comments: