Shell has begun pumping natural gas from the second phase of development at the Gbaran-Ubie Niger Delta project. The gas from the expanded project will go to both the local market and export markets.
The second phase of Gbaran-Ubie will have a peak production rate of 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily, to be reached in 2019, of which 864 million cu ft of natural gas and 26,000 barrels of crude daily. The additional output will come from 18 wells drilled under the Phase 2 plan. The gas from the field will be transported via a new pipeline connecting the central processing facility at Gbaran-Ubie to a non-associated gas plant.
Shells’ Nigerian subsidiary started work on the Gbaran-Ubie field back in 2005, saying in 2011 that the “production facilities attained the gas design capacity of one billion standard cubic of gas per day (bscf/day) on February 5, 2011,” and peak oil production seen at 70,000 bpd.
The Gbaran-Ubie deposit was discovered in the 1970s, but it was left undeveloped because it contained mainly gas and Nigeria didn’t have much of a demand for gas at that time. Things changed, however, and now Shell is shipping the gas from Gbaran-Ubie to the non-associated gas plant in Soku, in the eastern part of the Delta, and from there it will travel to the LNG terminal at Bonny, export-bound.
The expanded production is a rare piece of good news for Shell’s Nigerian business. The company has had its share of militant attacks on infrastructure and consequent production shutdowns, and is currently dealing with the occupation of a flow station in the Rivers state in the Delta. The protesters, including women and children, demand a greater share of oil returns for the local communities as well as an end to the environmental damage from oil production.