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AFX News: Shell reaffirms production goals despite Nigerian outage

LONDON (AFX) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC has reiterated its output targets for 2006 and 2007 despite the production outages in Nigeria after separatist militants launched a series of violent attacks on its facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Shell also kept its capital spending guidance of 19 bln usd for 2006, excluding the 3 bln usd already spent for acquisitions. However, it put the 21 bln usd capex plan for 2007 under review because of rising costs.

‘Our guidance for the year of 3.4 mln boepd has been maintained,’ Peter Voser, the chief finance officer, told reporters in a conference call following the group’s third quarter results.

He added the the group’s aim to pump between 3.5 mln and 3.8 mln boepd in 2007 is also ‘unchanged’.

Shell was forced to temporarily close down certain production facilities in Nigeria, shutting in about 185,000 boepd in the third quarter.

Further ahead, the guidance for 2009 still stands at 3.8-4.0 mln boepd, although Voser stressed the figure could change if the start-up for the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia is delayed.

Shell insisted Sakhalin-2 is progressing according to plan and within the 20 bln usd budget. First gas deliveries from the project are scheduled in 2008.

Turning to the group’s capex, Voser said it is ‘sticking’ with the original budget of 19 bln usd for 2006, before acquisition spend.

‘We have no update for next year,’ he said, adding that Shell will provide the 2007 budget once it publishes the fourth quarter results.

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