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business.iafrica.com: NIGERIA: Shell spillage slashes output

Mon, 05 Mar 2007

Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday a major oil spill in a production facility in southern Nigeria had reduced output by 187 000 barrels per day.

“There was a spill at Nembe Creek Trunk Line which led to a total output loss of 187 000 barrels per day. Ten flowstations were closed down to enable the company to effect necessary repairs,” a Shell official told AFP.

Cause of spill unknown

He said the spill occurred on Sunday and company’s engineers and experts had been sent to “assess and contain” its spread. He could not explain the cause of the spill.

“We are still investigating. The immediate concern is to stop the spill. This is why we had to shut down our operations in the eastern zone,” he said, promising that prompt action was being taken to contain the leak.

Shell, Nigeria’s major oil operator, accounting for around half of the country’s daily output of some 2.6 million barrels, was already losing some 477 000 barrels because of the unrest in the Niger Delta.

Violent attacks persist

Since Janaury 2006, separatist groups seeking a larger share of Nigeria’s oil wealth have renewed their violence against oil firms, personnel and related business interests in the region.

This year alone, a total of 58 foreigners, most but not all of them with connections to the oil industry, have been abducted. That is almost as many as for the whole of 2006.

The separatist groups on several occasions have advised all foreigners to leave the region and say their aim is to stop oil production in the Delta.

Tapping of pipelines by local people to steal fuel is also common in the country, often with fatal results.

AFP

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