Nigeria has begun exporting a new crude grade, with two cargoes of Nembe sold to France and the Netherlands.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) announced the move at an Argus conference in London. Aiteo Eastern E&P produced the Nembe blend from its operated OML 29.
Previously, the company had blended Nembe with Bonny light, exporting it via the Bonny terminal. Now, though, Aiteo is exporting its Nembe crude via the Nembe Crude Oil Export Terminal (NCOET).
The two cargoes each held 950,000 barrels of Nembe.
Aiteo and NNPC, speaking at the conference, said Nembe had low sulphur and a lower carbon footprint, because of the elimination of flaring. As such, the crude is a good fit for major buyers in Europe, NNPC said, and commands a premium to Brent. The crude has an API of 29 degrees.
Aiteo bought OML 29 in 2014 from Shell.
NCOET is an FSO, capable of holding 2 million barrels. It can offload crude to tankers from Aframax to VLCCs. The FSO can load at 25,000 barrels per hour – 600,000 barrels per day. When it is at full capacity, it will be able to export more than 3.6 million barrels, around 120,000 bpd.
In order to deliver the FSO plan, Aiteo had to install around 52 km of pipeline, to run from the field to the vessel. A Vietnamese yard converted a VLCC into the FSO, Galilean 7.
Aiteo took the step of installing the FSO in an attempt to tackle its pipeline losses, which made the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) uneconomical. It is not the only company to have resorted to an alternative means of export.
Nigerian companies started up the ELI Akaso in October, providing an alternative route for OML 18 exports, about 100 km to the east of the Galilean 7.
While Aiteo may have tackled flaring, it has struggled with other challenges at OML 29. In 2021, a well on the Santa Barbara South field blew out, with the company struggling to remedy the problem.
Citing the well problem, the Bayelsa Commission said this “should serve as a test case for how not to conduct asset divestment in the future”. Given Aiteo’s extensive legal battles with Shell following the sale, the commission may not be alone in such a conclusion.