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Afrique en ligne – Angers, France: Shell to head back to Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA ) – The Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday said it would return to Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region where attacks targeted at its staff in early 2006 led it to withdraw close to 330 workers in the swampy region, the world’s eighth largest source of crude oil.

“We hope in the next 12 months, the situation would have improved and we would be able to re-enter. The process would be gradual,” Rob Routes, Shell’s Executive Director, Oil Products and Chemicals, told a news conference in Nairobi.

Shell cited Nigerian government’s efforts to improve security around the Delta region and said his company would gradually begin operations again.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua has been passionate about winning over the militants blamed for a series of kidnappings targeting foreign engineers and senior staff working for foreign multinational oil firms.

Shell’s production facilities have fallen victim to these attacks, forcing the firm to scale-down its operations around the region.

Shell suspended its operations in the Delta region after a series of attacks targeting its workers and oil installations. One of the worst attacks took place in January last year, leaving 17 Nigerian troops guarding the oil installations dead.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a local militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks against the Shell installations in the region.

Routs said Shell was confident that security around the oil producing areas would improve over the next 12 months.

The Shell executive, who was visiting Kenya to inspect the safety standards and review the operational environment its East African subsidiary, Shell Kenya, said Africa faced logistical challenges in the delivery of oil resources, including the capacity of pipelines.

Shell controls almost half of Nigeria’s crude oil exports, most of it from the Delta region. The West African state exports 2.5 million barrels of crude daily.

The Anglo-Dutch firm has installations within the Delta swamps which pump at least 380,000 barrels a day although the attacks targeting the production facilities in the region led to a near halt of the operations in early 2006.

The oil-firm later pulled out its entire staff from the area after militants threatened their lives.

“We have little production of oil in the Delta region but our offshore operations in the rest of Nigeria have been continuing,” Routs said.

“We do not tolerate anybody getting killed in our business. We also ensure that assets that don’t perform do not become part of our portfolio,” he emphasized.

The Anglo-Dutch oil firm also announced that it would not withdraw its operations from Africa despite the growing trend among multinational oil firms, insisting that it would continue with its new plan to promote franchises in its oil distribution activities.

Nairobi – 11/10/2007
 
http://www.afriquenligne.fr/news/daily-news/shell-to-head-back-to-nigeria’s-oil%11rich-delta-region-2007101210472/

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