ÎIn a further blow to Nigeria’s oil industry and exportation, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd on Wednesday announced the shutdown of its 250,000 barrels-per-day Bonny Light export terminal in Rivers State. This is even as the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, on Wednesday, condemned the recent killing of seven personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in the state, warning that the killings could set a stage for a repeat of the ugly incident that led to the 1999 Odi Massacre in Kolokuma/ Opokuma area of the state. A community leader in the area where the Bonny Light export terminal is located said an explosion of an oil pipeline triggered the shutdown.
“There was a blast on the trunk line around Kalabari community of Rivers State,” said Nengi James, a community leader dealing with oil and gas companies operating in the region. “We don’t know the cause and who is behind the explosion.” Meanwhile, Shell in a statement on Wednesday signed by its spokesperson, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, said the force majeure took effect by 12pm on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. It said the decision came as a result of a leak that led to the closure of Nembe Creek Trunk line for repairs by the operator, Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Ltd. The company did not however disclose the cause of the leak in the statement. The shutdown at Bonny Light will plunge Nigeria’s oil export to its lowest in more than two decades. If all Bonny Light production is cut, it would bring the nation’s output to below 1.5 million bpd for the first time since September 1994, according to Energy Information Administration data. Nigeria exports almost all its production.
Last week, a group known as Niger Delta Avengers attacked a Chevron facility in the Delta State after claiming a strike in February against a Shell pipeline, which shut down the 250,000 bpd Forcados export terminal. Meanwhile, apparently disturbed by the recent killing of seven personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, on Wednesday, condemned the killing along the Nembe Creek and Foropa community in Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the state respectively. According to Gov. Dickson, the unwarranted attacks and killing of the nation’s security personnel were putting the state and the region in bad light and setting a stage for a repeat of the ugly incident that led to the 1999 Odi Massacre in Kolokuma/Opokuma area of the state. Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary,
Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said as part of steps to check the activities of the youths and the unwholesome trend and improve the security situation in the state, community leaders, elders and other stakeholders would be summoned to a meeting at a date to be announced later, adding that the killings were regrettable and unfortunate. He called on the perpetrators of the dastardly act and their collaborators to stop it with immediate effect, saying, “Terrorism does not favour peace, neither can democracy express itself through violence”. The governor’s condemnation came on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s order on the military to go on a manhunt of the perpetrators and clampdown all security threats in the Niger Delta region. Dickson stated that the killings were also putting the innocent ones in the state and the Niger Delta region in danger.
While warning that the government of Bayelsa State does not want a replay of the 1999 Odi massacre during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, where only the innocent people suffered the brunt of the military invasion, the governor called on community leaders and other stakeholders to check the activities of youths in their domains. Dickson, however, said that the state government is already working in concert with the security agents to bring the culprits to book and forestall any future occurrences.