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Lloyds List: Shell poised to restart Forcados

Published: Apr 19, 2007

NIGERIAN crude exports are likely to rise rapidly from the end of May as Royal Dutch Shell is expected to restart operations at the Forcados terminal in the Niger Delta, writes Martyn Wingrove.

Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru believes the terminal and associated oil fields could be reopened by the end of May to increase his country’s crude exports.

The Forcados oil fields were able to produce 380,000 barrels per day before they were damaged by militant attacks early last year.

Gunmen in speedboats bombed the Forcados tanker loading platform, forcing its closure and making Shell put force majeure on exports.

The floating production storage and offloading vessel and terminal EA was also damaged, taking out 115,000 bpd of production. This is likely to remain closed for longer than Forcados.

Shell is taking a ‘step by step’ approach to resuming operations from Forcados facilities. It has undertaken risk assessments and ongoing repairs, said a spokeswoman.

‘The first lifting is likely to be crude that is kept in storage and depends on repairs to the loading platform,’ said the spokeswoman.

Traders confirmed there would be Forcados loadings in June, potentially up to four cargoes and possibly 3.8m barrels could be exported.

Mr Daukoru was in London this week to launch Nigeria’s latest licensing round where 45 exploration blocks will be available for oil companies until mid-May.

Nigeria is a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries with an output quota of 2.04m barrels per day. This will be exceeded if Forcados comes back on line.

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