A major oil export crises has hit Nigeria’s oil and gas industry as a result of a crack-up of a giant underwater pipeline at the Forcados export terminal.
Following the incident, crude oil lifting has now been suspended at that platform, according to officials.
The pipeline, described as a big artery in the nation’s oil production was said to have suffered a huge rupture under circumstances that are at the moment still hazy.
Nigeria is already bleeding from the impact of low oil prices, with revenue dipping month after month.
”With export now cut as a result of the incident, oil revenue will descend even lower until the pipeline is fixed,” an insider at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said.
Industry experts say repairing the pipeline might cost the country as much as 100 million dollars.
Sabotage by Niger Delta militants is completely ruled out but the same cannot be said at the moment of rogue elements within the system who are known to have in the past orchestrated similar damages in the hope of benefitting from the repairs and clean-up contracts that must follow.
Forcados terminal in Delta State is one of Nigeria’s biggest terminals with capacity to export about 400,000 barrels of oil a day.
Illegal interference with pipelines, with attendant leaks, has always dwindled crude oil receipts into Forcados, a terminal operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Oil majors most hit by disasters at this terminal include Shell and Septlat.
Forcados is made up of two parts: namely the Tank Farm which receives crude oil produced from oil wells in Delta, Ondo, Edo and parts of Bayelsa States, and the Crude Oil Loading Platform where ships must come to lift crude.
The affected pipeline links the tank farm and the platform. Insiders say it is a very mighty pipe on the waterbed going to the sea. The ruptured section of this key pipeline is located at Tokebeleu, near Ojulagha, an Ijaw village in Delta State.