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Shell resumes oil exports from Delta

 (Nigeria)
By Sulaimon Salau

Monday, January 12, 2009 

SHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has lifted force majeure on crude exports from its Bonny, Forcados and Bonga oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

According to a Shell’s spokesperson, the force majeure on crude exports from the facilities was lifted because the associated commercial obligations for crude oil off-takes have been met.

Force majeure is a declaration that provides legal protection for the company not meeting its contractual obligations with customers.

Oil exports from the facilities had remained shut since July and October 2008 as a result of attacks on facilities and pipelines belonging to the oil multinational. Also the quota cut by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was considered being Nigeria’s share of the cut.

The force majeure on Bonga was imposed as part of a broader declaration of force majeure on Shell’s offshore production, Winzenried said, and also incorporated Shell’s shares in other fields.

“Force majeures have been lifted because the associated commercial obligations for crude oil off-takes have been met,” Winzenried said.

The force majeure on Bonga, according to him, was imposed as part of a broader declaration of force majeure on Shell’s offshore production, and also incorporated Shell’s shares in other fields.

A restart means resumption in supply of Nigerian crude, prized by refiners, as it is easy to process into transport fuels. Lower output since 2006 has boosted oil prices and prompted Shell to trim production forecasts.

“Efforts continue towards restoring safe operational conditions in the Niger Delta and, following an improvement in the security situation, preparations for a restart are under way,” Shell said.

Militants bombed the Forcados oil tanker loading platform in February 2006, forcing Shell to suspend output. Forcados can pump about 380,000 barrels per day. Shell also closed its 115,000 bpd EA platform nearby.

Oil companies and trading sources have detailed about 550,000 barrels per day (bdp) of Nigerian crude oil shut following the sabotage of oil facilities.

Meanwhile, the French oil services firm, Bourbon, which its workers were kidnapped on Sunday, said nine crew members were released unharmed, along with their hijacked vessel.

Although, the company did not say how it obtained the release of the vessel, it confirmed that the Bourbon Leda, and its crew five Nigerians, two Ghanaians, one Camerounian and one Indonesian were released late Wednesday.

The company in statement said, “Bourbon announces that the Bourbon Leda vessel and its nine crew members, captured off the coast of Nigeria in the night of Saturday to Sunday, have been freed. All nine crew members are in good health.

The Bourbon Leda, a fast supply intervention vessel, was seized off Bonny Island, in the Niger Delta, where a major crude export terminal and a liquefied natural gas plant are located.

Security sources had said the vessel was on its way to a Royal Dutch Shell offshore oilfield at the time of the attack.

The Niger Delta, a vast network of mangrove creeks opening into the Gulf of Guinea, has suffered regular supply in recent times as a result of the wave of attacks that began in early 2006.

SOURCE ARTICLE

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