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AFP: Shell declares force majeure in Nigeria after sabotage

LAGOS (AFP) — Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell said Thursday it would not be able to honour all its export contracts from its southern Nigerian Bonny export terminal for two months because of sabotage.

“Effective February 7, 2008, we declared force majeure on Bonny Light Offtake programmes for the rest of February and March following deferments caused by our inability to progress repair of three leaks on Nembe Creek trunk line,” the firm said in a statement here.

“We had managed to repair one leak but are unable to repair the other three because of serious security challenges,” it added.

Shell did not give figures on the expected loss in production but industry sources say it runs into thousands of barrels of crude.

Shell is Nigeria’s largest oil operator, accounting for around half of the country’s daily output of 2.6 million barrels at peak production, but unrest in the Niger Delta have slashed production by a quarter since January 2006.

A force majeure allows companies to suspend contractual obligations such as deliveries of oil and gas following unforeseen events without incurring penalties.

Last month, Shell declared a force majeure on exports from the Forcados terminal also in the restive region for the rest of January and February because of sabotage of crude oil supply pipelines.

The company complained that local people were hampering efforts to repair the sabotaged pipelines.

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