Seplat Energy has struggled for uptime in pumping its crude through the Trans Forcados Pipeline, a frequently vandalized facility in Nigeria’s Western Niger Delta.
Now the company has commenced commissioning of the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline (AEP) and looks forward to oil flow “in December 2021”, it says in its latest update.
The AEP will provide an alternative evacuation route to Trans Forcados Pipeline, which was down for two weeks in September 2021, pushing Seplat’s gross (operated) output to less than 60,000BOPD.
Seplat had anticipated, in its second quarter 2021 (2Q 2021) update “to introduce hydrocarbons into the line by the end of September, 2021 and during 4Q to lift our crude via the Escravos terminal upon completion of the crude handling agreements (CHA) with Chevron”.
But the September 2021 deadline passed. “Procedure is being reviewed and we’re working to close out a few open switches prior to introducing Hydrocarbon”, explain management sources at the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the state hydrocarbon firm in joint venture with Seplat in the Western Niger Delta.
Construction of the 160,000Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) evacuation facility was begun by the Nigerian independent, Pan Ocean Overseas, in October 2011. It is a 20”X67km Crude Oil pipeline which is meant to serve as an alternative (ultimately the mainstay) to the existing Seplat/Shell 24”/28” export pipeline to the export terminal at Forcados on the Atlantic Ocean.
“The completion of minor tie-in works on the Pipeline, which are not within Seplat Energy’s direct control, have been slower than anticipated due to a combination of challenges associated with access to the Escravos terminal owing to Covid-19 protocols and providing clarifications with the owners of the pipeline”, Seplat explained in the briefing last July.
“Our partner, NPDC owns a direct stake in the pipeline and are now actively working with Seplat Energy and the pipeline owners and their respective banks, to enable the final completion of the project. The construction of the entire pipeline system – including the metering facilities, is effectively complete and the precommissioning process is progressing well. This process involves functional testing of key components and operating systems integration with the receiving terminal facilities.
“The imminent conclusion of this project will significantly improve our assets’ production uptime compared with the TransForcdos Pipeline TFP (81% in H1 2021) and reduce losses from crude theft and reconciliation (12.1% in H1 2021)”, the Seplat update explained.