Shell last year declared force majeure on Bonny Light crude, the Nigerian blend, because of "incessant crude theft and illegal bunkering" on a pipeline the Nembe Creek trunk line in southern Nigerian.
Shell Managing Director Mutiu Sunmonu was quoted by The Guardian (Nigeria) as saying his company might shut down some operations there because of ongoing pilfering. The newspaper reports Shell says saboteurs are stealing about 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the region.
A task force set up to tackle oil theft needs to take matters in southern Nigeria more seriously, said Sunmonu.
"Let's not underestimate the cleverness of the people who are perpetrating this act," he was quoted as saying. "I have always said with a 3,700-mile network of flow-line and pipeline, even if you throw the entire Nigerian army into the creeks, it is not going to solve the problem."
Nigeria is the No. 7 oil producer among the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC said Nigerian oil production fell last year from its 2.1 million barrel-per-day average for 2011.