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Nigerian oil output around 2 mln bpd – minister

Reuters

Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:19pm EDT

(Adds comment from Shell)

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Nigerian Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said recent militant attacks on oil facilities had not significantly hit output and that the country was currently producing around 2 million barrels per day.

Nigerian militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) staged attacks on oil platforms, pipelines, flow stations and gas plants in the heartland of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry last week.

“Some of the facilities attacked were not producing, so it had not affected our production significantly … As to our current oil production, it’s about 2 million bpd,” Ajumogobia told Reuters on Wednesday in the capital Abuja.

Ajumogobia said at an OPEC meeting in Vienna earlier this month, shortly before the militant attacks, that Nigeria was pumping 2.2 million bpd and that one million bpd were shut in.

That output figure was slightly above the OPEC member’s target output and also higher than analysts’ assessments that Nigeria pumped 1.96 million bpd in August.

MEND declared a temporary ceasefire on Sunday after a six-day campaign which forced Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: QuoteProfile,ResearchStock Buzz), the company worst hit, to warn it may not be able to meet contractual obligations on some shipments of crude from Nigeria.

Shell declared force majeure late on Friday on Bonny Light oil shipments because of the unrest, in addition to an earlier force majeure declared as a result of attacks in July.

“We continue to check for possible damage to some of our SPDC joint venture facilities,” a spokeswoman for Shell in Nigeria said on Wednesday.

The Anglo-Dutch giant operates in the Niger Delta through its SPDC joint venture with state oil firm NNPC. NNPC holds 55 percent, Shell holds 30 percent while the rest is owned by local subsidiaries of Total (TOTF.PA:QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) and Agip (ENI.MI: QuoteProfile,ResearchStock Buzz).

Government officials said last week that MEND’s latest campaign had cut Nigerian oil production by around 150,000 barrels per day. (Writing by Nick Tattersall, editing by Anthony Barker)

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