Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has again fixed a new date for resumption of exploration work on one of its deep-water wells, the Bonga Deepwater, for April 2017.
The well, which produces about 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) had been forced to shut down twice, at the heat of the Niger Delta crisis in November 2016, and in March 2017.
But the Dutch oil company claims the recent shut down was for turnaround maintenance (TAM).
Shell had in December 2016 hinted that the well would be fully reopened for oil exploration business on or before January, but it rather announced a total shut down in March.
Managing Director of SNEPCo, Mr. Bayo Ojulari, while interacting with newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, confirmed the readiness of the oil giant to resume work on the site by April 4.
Although Ojulari denied thatthe company shut down to deepwater venture mainly due to Niger Delta crisis, he agreed that some of the company’s activities were affected by the action of the restive youths in the area.
He also denied the allegation that the timing on shutting down the well was bad given the fact that it was on the verge of recouping its lost oil output quota for close to one year.
The chief executive said it was improper to interpret the shut in timeline as a period of production loss to Nigeria, stressing that TAM is a series of planned and controlled activities that are implemented in collaboration with government and other stakeholders – with the aim of ensuring the continued safety and productivity of the facility.
He said the planning for TAM started two years ago while safety is top priority in every stage of the activity..
“This is an operation safely in Nigerian hands, with Nigerian engineers and companies playing leading roles and ensuring the objectives of the exercise is achieved.
“The plan is to successfully conclude the ramp of activities and resume production as planned in April 2017.
“It is not proper to interpret the period as production loss to Nigeria, rather, the turnaround maintenance is a series of planned and controlled activities that are implemented in collaboration with government and other stakeholders – with the aim of ensuring the continued safety and productivity of the facility.
“The planning started two years ago and safety is top priority in every stage of the activities,” he said.
It was learnt that the TAM would involve three major components – statutory and regulatory safety checks, inspections, repairs and replacement of equipment and upgrades.