The owners of MT Prestigious, Newcross Exploration and Production Limited, have confirmed that their vessel remains under the custody of the Nigerian Navy in Bonny. This confirmation comes amidst ongoing allegations of crude oil theft by the vessel, which was detained by the Niger Delta Renaissance Network, a private security firm.

In an update report addressed to key government and industry stakeholders including the National Security Advisor, Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and CEO of NNPC Limited, Newcross Exploration and Production Limited reiterated that MT Prestigious is still under close surveillance.

The update follows a visit by Operation Tantita, the IGP Illegal Bunkering Team, to MT Prestigious on May 2, 2024. During the visit, the team alleged reports of illegal bunkering activities matching the IMO number of MT Prestigious, the second mother vessel deployed in Bonny to support Newcross EP’s barging operations.

Captain Donna Spectre, representing MT Prestigious and NewcrossEP, provided written testimony confirming that the vessel’s sole purpose was to transport crude to Bonny Terminal SBM3.

Related News

However, requests to collect cargo samples for fingerprinting have been stalled pending written approval from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the presence of an independent laboratory.

Contrary to claims by the Niger Delta Renaissance Network that the vessel has been released, the presence of Nigerian Navy officers aboard the vessel in Bonny renders such assertions baseless.

NewcrossEP is calling for urgent intervention from NUPRC to ensure due process is followed and to swiftly resolve the halt in operations. They emphasized the critical role their operations play in generating value for the nation’s oil and gas sector.

The delay in resolution has significant financial implications, including the suspension of over 100,000 barrels per day in crude oil production, disruption of gas delivery for domestic and export supply to firms like NLNG, and disruptions in terminal operations and lifting programs due to low stock inventory.

These impacts, as stated by the exploration firm, affect key stakeholders and operators relying on the evacuation solution offered by MT Prestigious.