By Tife Owolabi
YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) -Shell’s Nigerian business is investigating a possible leak on its Trans Niger oil pipeline, which passes through the Bodo community in Rivers state, after being alerted to the potential problem on Aug. 18.
Oil theft and pipeline sabotage are common in the southern oil production heartland of Nigeria, with Shell blaming most spills on pipeline vandalism and illegal tapping of crude.
The 180,000 barrel per day (bpd) pipeline is one of two conduits that export Bonny Light crude from Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer.
“We are working with the community and other stakeholders to ensure we can safely look into and resolve this situation,” said company spokesperson Bola Essien-Nelson without providing further detail.
No force majeure has been declared.
The investigation into the Trans Niger pipeline comes days after another Shell pipeline in Nigeria resumed exports.
The medium sweet grade Forcados was scheduled to ship 220,000 bpd in July, but loadings were suspended for about a month because of a potential leak at the export terminal.
The cause of the Forcados suspension has yet to be determined by a joint investigation between company and community representatives in tandem with government agencies.
(Reporting by Tife Owolabi and Natalie GroverWriting by Elisha Bala-GbogboEditing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and David Goodman)