An Italian oil firm, Eni, has shut down its activities in the swampy oil fields located in Bayelsa over theft.
The firm, in a statement made available to newsmen in Yenagoa; Bayelsa State attributed the frequent spills to oil theft by vandals and said that it had decided to shut down operations to prevent further damages to the environment.
Eni, which operates in Nigeria as Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), said it authorised the suspension of operations on March 22 and subsequently declared ‘Force Majeure’ on its oil output from the facility on March 23.
`Force Majeure' is a legal notice that absolves an oil firm of liabilities for failure to meet supply obligations to crude buyers due to circumstances beyond the firm’s control
“Eni confirms that during the night between 21 and 22 March, the company has declared force majeure and ordered the closure of its onshore activities in the Swamp Area, located in Bayelsa State in Nigeria.
“The decision was made due to the intensified bunkering, consisting in the sabotage of pipelines and the theft of crude oil, which has recently reached unsustainable levels regarding both personal safety and damage to the environment.
“Sustainability is for Eni a priority in Nigeria, as in all the countries in which it operates, the statement said.
According to the statement, the firm produced about 40,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent daily from the shut facilities.
It espressed regret about 7,000 barrels of its daily crude production was lost to oil thieves in Bayelsa, a development the firm described as unsustainable and compelled it to shut down.