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Maintenance Work Underway At Nigeria’s Bonga Oil Field -Shell

MARCH 4, 2011, 5:27 A.M. ET

IBADAN, Nigeria -(Dow Jones)- Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co., or SNEPCO, has started maintenance work at the company’s Bonga deepwater oil field, a company spokesman said Friday.

“Maintenance work started Feb. 28. Can’t yet tell when it will be completed,” Precious Okolobo, said in a text message to Dow Jones Newswires.

Last week Okolobo said the Bonga field was to be shut in February for maintenance but he didn’t say exactly when and the duration of the shutdown.

The field is located 120 kilometers offshore Nigeria and has production of 225,000 barrels a day. It began production in 2004 and hit the first oil in 2005.

The shutdown at Bonga, one of Nigeria’ successful deepwater fields, will likely result in a reduction of Nigeria’ oil export figure, which officials said stood at 2.4 million barrels a day before the start of the Bonga maintenance.

Nigeria could still earn sizeable revenue from the sale of lower quantity of oil because of the sudden rise in prices caused by the Libyan crisis.

-By Obafemi Oredein, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; 234 2 7510489

Dow Jones Newswires March 04, 2011 05:42 ET (10:42 GMT) © 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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INSIDER COMMENT

Not a very good timing to do maintenance at these times of high oil price. And what is worse, they don’t know how long it will last.  Normally big maintenance projects are planned and know how long it will take. So, perhaps there is something else going on?

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