Royal Dutch Shell said it found two fresh onshore oil pipeline leaks in Nigeria's Delta region on Monday, three days after the company declared force majeure on exports of the high grade Bonny Light crude due to outages caused by oil theft.
"Two new leaks were reported on May 7 on the trans-Niger pipeline at Akpajo and K-Dere in Ogoniland after a similar number of leaks caused by hacksaw cuts were repaired at the weekend," Shell spokesman Precious Okolo said on Tuesday.
"A joint investigation team will determine the cause and extent of the leaks preparatory to repair work."
Shell no longer operates in Ogoniland after lengthy disputes with local Nigerians about pollution. It still has pipelines and other infrastructure there and says it is committed to clearing up spills, whatever the cause.
A United Nations report in August last year criticised Shell and the Nigerian government for contributing to 50 years of pollution in Ogoniland, which it says needs the world's largest ever oil clean-up that could take up to 30 years.
Shell and the Nigerian government pledged to investigate the report but they have not made any findings public.
Shell said on Friday 60,000 barrels per day of Bonny Light crude oil production had been shut down due to oil theft and declared force majeure - meaning it is unable to deliver on contractual agreements to supply oil to customers.
Traders said the loadings of Bonny Light have been delayed by about eight days following the force majeure and most of its May loading cargoes had been affected.
A Shell spokesman declined to comment about the loading delays.
Bonny Light has low sulphur content and is in high demand from refineries in the United States and Europe.
Shell has complained in recent months that oil bunkering is on the rise and has called for a greater security crackdown. It said up to 150,000 bpd is stolen from Nigerian fields each year.
With crude prices above $110 a barrel oil theft is a lucrative business.
In separate news, sources familiar with the situation said U.S. oil group ConocoPhillips had hired BNP Paribas to help sell its Nigerian assets, including on-shore, off-shore oil and gas fields and a stake in its LNG Brass facility.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mayıs 2012, 13:12