The Bonga deep offshore oil field, one of Nigeria’s highest volume producers and top revenue earners, was shut down for days in January, disrupting crude exports and cutting the country’s projected oil revenues for the month, TheCable has learnt.
The closure of the Bonga field, with output capacity of 225,000bpd owing to leakages in the piping system at the facility, immediately triggered fears that Niger Delta militants might have snooped on the facility as they had threatened to do on January 18, 2018.
However, operator of the Bonga field, the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), has allayed fears, saying the field had been brought back to production.
“Production and export of oil and gas at Bonga have resumed after a brief shut-down to effect repairs on a piping system,” a Shell spokesman told TheCable.
“The repairs were effected January 16-28, 2018, and further checks and ancillary repairs mean production is being ramped up gradually,” the spokesman added.
Oil traders hinted that some tankers already programmed to load crude from the Bonga terminal in January and February were delayed while the maintenance lasted.
Apart from major crude exports from the Bonga field, a larger chunk of the natural gas feedstock for the six train, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant owned by Nigeria LNG Limited is also supplied by the Bonga field.
The Bonga field is located is located in oil mining lease (OML) 212 and has produced about 702 million barrels of oil since it commenced production in 2005.
Shell carried out maintenance work on the facility in April and October 2017, to improve operational efficiency at the facility.
Oil exports account for around 80% of foreign exchange earnings of the Nigerian government.
Niger Delta Avengers had threatened to launch attacks on offshore oil facilities, including the Bonga production facilities, while demanding resource control.