(Ecofin Agency) - Exports of Nigeria's Forcados crude oil are not likely to resume until early 2017, according to traders.
The grade has been under force majeure since February after a militant attack on its main export pipeline, the Trans Forcados. The pipeline resumed operations in October, letting some cargoes to load, but fresh militant attacks at the beginning of this month took the line out again, shutting in over 200,000 barrels per day. The incident has resulted in a huge crude oil spill in the sea and creeks around communities of Ogulagha Kingdom, which hosts the Forcados terminal.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but security sources have said that militants in the Niger Delta region were behind the attack. However, some community sources said the breach on the line was not as a result of militants’ attack.
“It is absurd for anyone to claim that this spill was a product of militants’ attack on the recently reopened line. As we speak, the people of Ogulagha Kingdom are swimming in crude oil. From what we gathered, the export pipeline has not been changed in the last 30 years since they opened it,” one of the sources told Reuters.
The sources said the export line broke due to old age, adding that it was the second section of the reopened line, which early this year was attacked by members of the Niger Delta Avengers.
“SPDC is investigating reports of an attack on the Forcados crude export pipeline. We will communicate relevant updates as necessary. We continue to monitor the security situation in our operating areas and are taking all possible steps to ensure the safety of staff and contractors,” Joseph Obari, a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company, said.