Shell wants to re-weight its footprint in Nigeria to focus on oil and gas fields far offshore, away from the theft, spills, corruption and unrest that have plagued the West African country’s onshore industry for decades.
Two pipeline spills in 2008 in the small community of Bodo in Ogoniland are emblematic of the problems in the Delta, a vast maze of creeks and mangrove swamps criss-crossed by pipelines and blighted by poverty and oil-fueled violence.
So far this year, 85 crude spills have been recorded, already higher than the previous two years. In 2016, militant attacks pushed the volume of spills to more than 30,000 barrels, a high since 2011.
Oil theft from SPDC rose to around 9,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 – a loss of nearly $180 million for the year – from 6,000 bpd the year before.
Shell has taken a number of steps to improve the situation in the area, including training youth to start up businesses and funding local community patrols, campaigns to raise local awareness and even a local radio station.
The giant tanker, with a drilling platform that pumps 225,000 barrels of oil and 210 million cubic feet of gas per day from a field one km below, won the company’s “asset of the year award” in 2016 for its safety and reliability.