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Reuters: Hard to say when Shell oil output to restart – Nigeria

Reuters: Hard to say when Shell oil output to restart – Nigeria

Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:18 AM BST


DOHA (Reuters) – It is hard to judge when Nigerian oil output shut by militant attacks will return and the industry has to win the acceptance of those living in the impoverished Niger delta, Nigeria's oil minister said on Sunday.


Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Edmund Daukoru told reporters last Tuesday's inaugural meeting of a council to speed development in the region went very well. The delta pumps almost all Nigeria's oil but most people live in poverty.


“The atmosphere will very soon become conducive for workers to go back,” Daukoru told reporters as he arrived here for talks between the world's oil consumer and producer nations.


“The issues have to do with development, it doesn't have to do with guns and physical security, it is to get the acceptance of the people in the Niger delta. The industry has to be accepted by the people living in the producing areas.”


On Wednesday the militants, whose attacks have cut Nigeria's oil exports by a quarter, rejected offers of new infrastructure and jobs and threatened more violence. They have warned oil workers to stay away from facilities closed by the violence.


Nigeria's biggest foreign operator Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has shut 455,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil output since a series of attacks and kidnappings on February 18. In all, major Western oil companies have shut 550,000 bpd.


Asked by reporters when the lost production would return, Daukoru said: “It's a judgmental thing.”


He added 120,000 bpd of the total, at Shell's EA field, could be brought back quickly because there was no damage.


“That can be reopened as soon as the atmosphere is conducive for workers to go back to the field. As soon as Shell and others feel comfortable to go back.” The same cannot be said of Shell's vast Forcados oilfield and terminal, bombed by militants.


Shell has said repeatedly that as soon as it is safe to do so, it wants to start assessing damage and begin a clean-up.


Without the output from Shell, Nigeria was pumping around 2.3 million bpd, Daukoru told reporters on his arrival at the International Energy Forum of energy ministers in Doha.


(Doha newsroom)


© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


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