The federal government and oil firms operating in the western Niger Delta are losing roughly 250,000 barrels of oil per day (b/d) owing to the closure of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline, following a leakage discovered on the facility, THISDAY has learnt.
The Trans-Forcados pipeline is the major trunk line in the Forcados Pipeline System with an export capacity of 400,000b/d and the second largest network in the Niger Delta after the Bonny Oil Pipeline System in the eastern Niger Delta.
THISDAY gathered that after a leakage was discovered on the pipeline on May 7, the pipeline had to be completely shutdown for repairs to be carried out.
International oil companies (IOCs) and Nigerian independents operating in the western Niger Delta use the pipeline to pump oil to the 400,000b/d Forcados export terminal.
"There was a leakage around 8 p.m. on Tuesday last week but the cause of the leakage is yet to be determined. The pipeline has been completely shutdown for repairs to be carried out," an official of one of the companies told THISDAY.
He added that with the closure of the pipeline, about 15 oil fields producing 220,000-250,000 barrels of crude oil per day had been shut in.
Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited operates the pipeline, along with its oil block - Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30.
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Shoreline Natural Resources, Neconde, Elcrest E&P, ND Western and First Hydrocarbon Nigeria are also some of the major producing companies affected by the closure of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline.
Also affected are marginal field operators such as Pillar Oil, Energia, Platform Petroleum, and Midwestern Oil.
Before last week's leak, the Trans-Forcados Pipeline had suffered three sabotage incidents in 2016, beginning with the subsea bombing of the facility by the Niger Delta Avengers in February 2016, followed by a militant attack in November 2016.
The incidents disrupted operations at the Shell-operated Forcados Oil Terminal (FOT) until late May 2017 when repairs to the pipeline were completed, following the intervention of Salvic Petroleum Resources Limited.
But for 15 months prior to March 2017, most of the companies pumping through the pipeline recorded zero production.
However, between March 2017 and April 2018, under a Technical Services Agreement (TSA) between Salvic Petroleum and Heritage Energy, the former rehabilitated the Trans-Forcados Pipeline and sustained an uptime of over 86 per cent in the 12 months of operations.
THISDAY gathered that until the contract between both firms was abruptly terminated by Heritage last month, Salvic Petroleum had handled the technical support services, security, operation & management (O&M) services, community relations & other stakeholder management, corporate social responsibility activities, and the management of the 87km Trans-Forcados Pipeline.