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The Scotsman: Shell still seeking access to Nigeria spill

ABUJA (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell still has no access to the oil spill in Nigeria which forced it to close 187,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production, a company source said on Friday.

The company is negotiating with community groups in the Nembe Creek area of the Niger Delta to carry out an inspection and repairs to the trunk pipeline which feeds the Bonny export terminal.

“We need to meet people to discuss our licence to operate and freedom to operate. That process is well in hand and we will be there hopefully by the weekend,” said the source, asking not to be named because of company policy.

It is not possible to say how long the investigation and repairs would take until Shell’s team has obtained access, he added.

The reduction in Nembe Creek comes on top of a 600,000 bpd reduction from oilfields in the western Niger Delta, which have been shut since a series of militant attacks in February 2006.

Many Niger Delta communities have long-standing grievances against oil companies, and take advantage of this type of situation to exert pressure on the company to pay up or provide other services.

Most communities in the vast wetlands region have private militias, and many of these armed groups are loosely linked to a militant movement fighting for more autonomy in the delta.

“Getting access in the western delta has been a problem for some time, and it is increasingly a problem in the east,” an industry executive said.

(c) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. 

http://business.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=378592007

Last updated: 09-Mar-07 10:11 GMT

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