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Shell Halts Some Nigeria Oil Shipments After Attack

CNNMoney.com

March 09, 2009: 12:27 PM ET

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) Monday said a recent militant attack on a Nigeria oil pipeline had forced it to halt deliveries to many customers, in an indication of the worsening security situation in one of Shell’s most important markets.

“This force majeure was called Saturday after an explosion on a pipeline” caused by militants a week before, Shell spokesmanRainer Winzenried said.

The declaration, which protects Shell from lawsuits for not meeting oil deliveries to customers due to actions outside the company’s control, is expected to be in place for the rest of March and all of April, Winzenried said.

He wouldn’t disclose exactly how much production and customers were affected, but a Nigerian oil official said the attack for more than a week disrupted around 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a day of production.

That attack took place on the Escravos pipeline, which sends crude from Shell’s Forcados fields to the Escravos export terminal in the country’s main oil producing region.

The assault follows the end of a ceasefire announced last month by Nigeria’s main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, and the group’s vow to attack more oil installations.

Upwards of 600,000 barrels a day of Nigerian pumping capacity is currently shut due to militant attacks. Much of that production, operated by the Shell-run government joint-venture, has been closed since early 2006.

The recent attacks, which have also hit the operations of Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Italy’s Eni SpA (E), have prompted Nigeria’s two main oil unions to threaten strikes in a few weeks if the government doesn’t do more to improve security around energy facilities.

-By Spencer Swartz, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9357; [email protected] dowjones.com

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  03-09-09 1227ET
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