Nigerian oil pipelines in the southern Niger Delta energy hub, which belonged to Italy’s Eni and Aiteo, were blown up by militants. The blasts were among the latest in a series of attacks targeting oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta Region over the recent months, which briefly pushed oil output to a 30-year low. The new wave of violence can also have a negative impact on exports that were depressed due to infrastructure damage. Overall, the situation only highlighted the serious security threat to the oil output, on which the country relies for about 70 percent of its income.
Most attacks were carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers, which claimed responsibility for Nembe 1,2 and 3 trunk line in Bayelsa and Rivers states also owned by the Aiteo group. A spokesperson for Eni confirmed that there had been also a separate attack on a crude pipeline in Bayelsa state, but no militant group claimed responsibility yet. As a result, the group lost equity production of about 4,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), a 100-kilometre long pipeline capable of carrying 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), moves Bonny Light crude oil to the export terminal. Shell sold the line to Aiteo in 2015 but it still relies on it to transfer crude to international customers. On Thursday (7 July) Shell lifted force majeure – a legal clause that allows it to stop deliveries without breaching contracts – on Bonny Light that had been in place since early May after the NCTL had been closed for repairs. This month, a total 240,000 bpd of exports had been planned. However, Eni’s Brass River oil remained under force majeure, albeit still exporting, following previous attacks.