Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company has confirmed it is responding to an oil leak at the 200,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonga deepwater facility, approximately 120 kilometres off the Nigeria coast.
The leak occurred yesterday (Tuesday December 20) during a routine operation to transfer crude oil from Bonga’s floating production, storage and off-loading (FPSO) vessel to a waiting oil tanker. An export line linking the FPSO to the tanker has been identified as the likely source, and has been closed and de-pressurised, halting the flow of oil. Early indications show that less than 40,000 barrels of oil have leaked in total. SNEPCo is now in the process of safely shutting down production at the Bonga field as a precautionary measure.
Commenting on the incident, Shell Nigeria Country Chair, Mutiu Sunmonu, said: “We are sorry this leak has happened. As soon as we became aware of it, we stopped the flow of oil and mobilized our own resources, as well as industry expertise, to ensure its effects are minimized. It is important to stress that this was not a well control incident of any sort, and to make clear that no-one has been injured. Our focus now is on a speedy and effective clean-up.”
Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources, and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency have been notified of the incident. SNEPCo’s Oil Spill Response Procedure and Emergency Response Team have been activated to manage the situation.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, December 21, 2011; Image: Shell