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Nigeria now using small river vessels to transport oil – Report



Nigeria crude oil

Nigeria has recently switched to using small river vessels to transport some of its oil as opposed to using the Nembe Creek trunk line (NCTL), a broken oil pipeline.

This is according to an October 20 report by Bloomberg. 

According to tanker tracking data, on October 10, the first cargo of the new Nembe Creek grade was loaded onto a 1-million-barrel Suezmax tanker known as the Maran Orpheus.

In the coming months, Nigeria is set to load approximately 65,000 barrels per day of this new Nembe Creek grade as it aims to compensate for the reduced flows from Bonny. 

In light of the disrupted pipeline, Nigeria has resorted to using small river vessels to transport the new grade of oil, Nembe Creek, from the Niger River delta to an ocean-going ship stationed off the coast.

Previously, this oil was conveyed via the Nembe Creek trunk pipeline to the Bonny terminal, which was under the operation of Shell Plc.  

However, this pipeline, now managed by the Aiteo Group and once capable of handling around 150,000 barrels daily, has remained inactive since February 2022.

Nonetheless, another pipeline continues to supply oil to the Bonny terminal. 

This change in oil transportation affects the total shipments from Bonny, but Shell’s share of Nigerian oil remains unaffected since the company sold the pipeline to Aiteo in 2015.

The new logistics setup includes a floating storage offloading vessel, the Galilean 7, which is anchored near the Brass terminal. 

However, it is important to note that transporting Nembe Creek oil, owned by Nigeria and Aiteo, through river vessels is a significantly more expensive method compared to using pipelines.

The river’s shallow depth limits the size of ships that can navigate it, requiring around 24 individual deliveries to fill a standard ocean-going vessel.  

In 2021, Nigerian company, Eroton stopped evacuating its crude through the Nembe Creek Trunk Line citing massive crude oil theft activities by vandals.

Nigeria has been battling crude oil theft for decades, however recently, the perpetrators have become emboldened due to the fact that the government only decided to act when the crime had become fully entrenched.  

Now, it has become a monster too difficult to conquer while the country struggles to meet its OPEC quota of 1.7 million barrels per day, although the government is not relenting in its efforts to fight the menace.

Earlier this week, between October 7 and 13, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) reported 205 incidents of crude oil theft across the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta region.  

The current Senate has said it will investigate the crude oil theft menace and report its findings in the next few weeks.

However, this is not the first time the National Assembly has conducted investigations with no viable solution, except the revelation of trillions of naira lost to the carnage.