Nigeria’s oil spills agency investigating Shell pipeline leak report

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – A pipeline owned by Shell’s subsidiary in Nigeria has spilled crude oil in the Niger Delta following a leak, the country’s spills agency and an environmental group said on Saturday.

The Obolo-Ogale pipeline in southern Rivers State feeds the 180,000 barrel-per-day Trans Niger line, one of two conduits to export Bonny Light crude. It had restarted operations this month after being shut for maintenance in December.

The spill was detected on Friday by local communities who reported it to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) and the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

SPDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NOSDRA has received a report on the spill and will hold a joint investigation visit to the site on Sunday, Ime Ekanem, the agency’s head in Rivers State, told Reuters.

Shell has over the years faced several legal battles over oil spills in the Niger Delta, a region blighted by pollution, conflict and corruption related to the oil and gas industry.

The company this week announced it was set to conclude nearly a century of operations in Nigerian onshore oil and gas after agreeing to sell SPDC to a consortium of five mostly local companies for up to $2.4 billion.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Mike Harrison)