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AFX News Limited: Shell says Nigerian ops unaffected by pipeline blast

12.27.06, 7:44 AM ET
LONDON (AFX) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC (nyse: RDSA – news – people ) has assured its operations in Nigeria were not affected by the explosion of an oil pipeline in Lagos that killed over 200 people.

‘It’s not our pipeline. (The blast) has not affected our operations at all,’ said a Shell spokesman at the company’s headquarters in London.

The Nigerian Red Cross has confirmed that at least 260 people were killed and dozens were injured from Tuesday’s explosion and fire at a vandalised pipeline.

Residents were quoted by press reports as saying the pipeline was vandalised by thieves stealing fuel on a large scale.

There was disagreement amongst residents, however, as to whether the fire had been started by an accidental spark or by a disgruntled thief lighting a match, according to reports.

Shell is the largest oil producer in Nigeria, contributing nearly half of the west African country’s daily output of over 2.5 mln barrels.

It has, however, reduced its Nigerian production following violent attacks by separatist militants on its facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta early this year.

Last week, Shell and other oil companies evacuated dependents of their foreign employees from the delta region following car bombings, one of which was set off in a Shell residential complex.

Despite the worsening security situation, Shell is still trying to improve output by restoring operations at some of the facilities affected by the attacks.

It has restored production at a 12,000-barrel per day flow station, a facility where pipelines converge, which it shut down two weeks ago.

‘We’re resuming operations at the non-river field logistics base and flow station in the Bayelsa state in western delta,’ said the Shell spokesman.

Shell halted operations there on Dec 14 when armed men attacked the complex, taking at least three Nigerian hostages.

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