Nigerian oil pipeline shut down after oil thieves start fire

The Nigerian branch of global oil giant Shell was forced to shut down one of its main oil pipelines on Sunday due to a major fire caused by oil thieves, according to Reuters.

Shell officials found that the 28-inch Bomu-Bonny Trunkline, which is responsible for feeding the prominent Bonny terminal, had caught fire early Sunday morning, forcing the company to shut down the pipeline and stop production of around 150,000 barrels per day.

The Bonny terminal produces Nigeria's benchmark crude oil, Bonny Light crude, and accounts for around 10 percent of the country's exports.

The company discovered a burning vehicle, which officials believe to be associated with fuel thieves, who are responsible for an annual loss of more than 150,000 barrels per day.

"This incident clearly demonstrates the scale of the oil theft problem which, alongside the hundreds of illegal refineries in the Delta, is having such a profound effect on the people, communities and the environment," said Tony Attah, Shell's vice president for health, safety, environment and corporate affairs for Sub-Saharan Africa, according to MarketWatch. "Until these activities are brought to a halt there will be no improvement in the environmental situation."

Nigerian oil production information is detailed at PennEnergy's Research area.

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