Nigeria’s oil exports threatened as Aiteo shuts pipeline

Exports of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude have been under force majeure following the closure of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, one of the major crude oil transportation channels used for export.

The NCTL, which is 100 kilometres long and has a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day at Nembe Creek, evacuates crude to the Bonny Crude Oil Terminal.

The force majeure has been in place since Friday morning following “the shutdown of the NCTL and declaration of a force majeure by the NCTL operator Aiteo,” a Shell spokesperson was quoted by S&P Global Platts as saying on Wednesday.

The NCTL, a key oil pipeline connected to the Bonny terminal, has persistently been targeted by militants.

The Bonny terminal gets its crude from two pipelines – the NCTL and the Trans Niger pipeline – with flows on the latter line still running, according to trading sources.

A source said the impact of the force majeure would likely be limited given the terminal was still receiving crude.

“Loadings will continue, albeit delayed. We have a cargo affected and are awaiting advice from NNPC regarding the cargo delays,” the source said.

“Inevitably delays now will ripple through the balance of the September and October programmes. But my guess is it will amount to no more than one cargo, perhaps two, pushed from late October into November.”

Bonny Light loadings in September and October are scheduled to average 246,667 bpd and 275,807 bpd, respectively, according to S&P Global Platts tracking data.

Bonny Light was assessed at a premium of $1.45 per barrel to Dated Brent on Tuesday, down 10 cents/b from a week ago, according to Platts data.

Bonny Light, one of Nigeria’s key export grades, is popular with refiners globally, with production ranging around 250,000 bpd in the past year.

It is a light sweet crude with a gravity of 35.3 API and sulfur content of 0.15 per cent. It was under force majeure earlier this year and three times last year due to pipeline leaks caused by attacks by militants.

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