Shell Shuts Down Offshore Oil Field

THISDAY Newspaper- Ejiofor Alike

Nigeria's already unstable oil production might be affected by news that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has shut down the SPDC Joint Venture-operated East Area (EA) oilfield offshore in the Niger Delta as a precaution to enable repairs on equipments.
The equipments under repair, THISDAY learnt, relates to the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit of the EA oilfield.

The shudown of the 115,000 barrels per day capacity oilfield located in Ekeremor Local Government Area (LGA) of Bayelsa State, is coming barely eight months that crude oil production resumed at the oil field after three years of closure due to militant attacks.
Shell's Spokesman Mr. Precious Okolobo who confirmed this development in a statement yesterday however stated that only 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day has been deferred due to the closure.
Part of the statement reads: "The SPDC Joint Venture-operated EA field offshore Western Niger Delta has been temporarily shut down as a precaution to enable repairs to equipment which connects the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility, Sea Eagle with the mooring platform.

"The equipment in question was scheduled to be overhauled in May this year, but bad weather - including a storm on 26 March - has forced the schedule to be brought forward."
SPDC had in September 2009 shut down the oilfield's FPSO, which is christened ‘Sea Eagle’ to commence repair and replacement of the facility’s emergency shut down valve, which took several weeks to be completed. The deepwater field had loaded its first crude oil cargo estimated at 70,000 barrels per day in the first week of August 2009.
The EA platform, which was shut in on February 18, 2006, was one of the first targets of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

MEND had during the February 2006 wave of attacks set a crude oil export tanker ablaze, blew up two oil pipelines and also kidnapped nine oil workers - three Americans, two Egyptians, two Thais, one Briton and one Filipino, from a boat belonging to the United States oil services firm, Willbros.
The coalition of militant groups had earlier in January 2006 taken four foreign hostages from the EA, forcing Shell to shut down the platform for three years.
After resuming operation at the facility, Shell had said it would continue to monitor the security situation and also take necessary measures to ensure the security of staff and contractors.

Before its recent declaration of ceasefire under the Federal Government's amnesty programme, MEND had warned the oil major to drop its plans to restart the EA oilfield as "we cannot guarantee the safety of their staff and equipment."
But in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, a spokesman of the 12 EA communities and the Amananawei of Amatu 1 of Iduwin Kingdom His Royal Highness, Decca E. Keredei said the communities had resolved to provide an enabling environment for Shell to re-start the oil field.
"Amnesty is an appreciation and that is how I see it. They (militants) have created awareness on the problems in the Niger Delta. So, they should calm down and allow the agencies government has put in place to tackle the unemployment problem in the area," he said.


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