Lagos, Nigeria –The Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc said Tuesday it has declared force majeure on the shipping of the Forcados oil blend from Nigeria after it shut an export pipeline due to a leak.
Precious Okolobo, a spokesman of SPDC, said in a statement that the force majeure took effect from 09.00 hours local time Tuesday, due to ongoing repairs on the pipeline at the Forcados Terminal in the western Nigeria Delta.
He said the subsea line was shut when a leak was discovered on March 4, leading to the suspension of SPDC and third-party crude oil exports through the terminal.
Mr. Okolobo didn’t say how much oil may have been shut in as a result of the leak, but stressed that SPDC has “mobilized equipment and materials to the site, and is working to repair and reopen the line as soon as possible.”
He said helicopter over-flights showed a slight sheen around the export line, adding that a joint investigation conducted by community representatives, SPDC, regulators and security agencies determined that the leak was caused by unknown persons who had installed a crude theft point in a water depth of about 8 meters.
Force majeure is declared when a company is unable to fulfill its contractual obligations to deliver crude or gas due to circumstances beyond its control.