Delay in clearance of MT prestigious vessel threatens 100,000BPD crude oil production 

The continued delay in the clearance of the MT Prestigious vessel by the Nigerian Navy may be posing threat to production of 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil by Newcross Exploration And Production Limited.

The vessel was apprehended by a private security firm for allegedly stealing crude oil, but recent reports claimed that the vessel has been released by the Nigerian Navy for further investigation.

However, the owners of the vessel,
Newcross Exploration And Production Limited said the vessel is still under surveillance and close monitoring by the Navy in Bonny.

In an update issued by the vessel owners to the National Security Advisor, the Chief of Defense Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, NewcrossEP stated that after the visit by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Illegal Bunkering Team (“Operation Tantita”) to MT Prestigious, which occurred on May 2, 2024, the team alleged that they had received reports of illegal bunkering activities of a vessel with an IMO number matching MT Prestigious WD, the second mother vessel deployed in Bonny to support the NewcrossEP barging operations.

Although no clear evidence of the allegations was shared, written testimony was taken from the MT Prestigious Captain, Donna Spectre (barging vendor) representative, and NewcrossEP representative confirming the vessel’s only purpose is to convey crude to Bonny Terminal SBM3.

Subsequently, a request was made to collect cargo samples for fingerprinting which cannot be granted without the written approval of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the presence of an independent laboratory.

It was alleged that officers of the Nigerian Navy are still onboard the vessel in Bonny, making the allegation by the Niger Delta Renaissance Network that the Vessel has been released totally to questioning.

The vessel owners have called for urgent intervention of NUPRC on the IGP team to ensure that due process is followed and the stoppage to their operations can be quickly resolved considering the critical role it played in generating value for the nation.

NewcrossEP said that the potential impact of this delay has numerous financial implications for the nation, which include the suspension of more than 100,000 barrels per day in crude oil production.

Other implications are; suspension of gas delivery for domestic and export supply (e.g. NLNG), and disruption of terminal operations and lifting programmes due to low stock inventory.

Back to top button