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Shell: Nigerian oil theft ‘unprecedented’

ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 27 (UPI) — The amount of crude oil stolen from Royal Dutch Shell’s pipelines in the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria is “unprecedented,” the company said.

“The scale of crude theft is unprecedented,” the company was quoted by the Platts news service as stating.

Shell declared force majeure in Nigeria, releasing the company from contractual obligations because of circumstances out of its control, through October. The action came after the company said a series of spills in the area may have been the result of sabotage on a pipeline carrying crude oil through the Niger Delta.

“Besides the money lost to government, a significant portion of the stolen volumes are spilled affecting large swathes of land,” the company added.

Nigeria is dealing with renewed security concerns following a series of attacks by Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which took responsibility for an August attack on U.N. offices in Abuja.

Amnesty offered to Nigerian militants in the Niger Delta in 2009 brought some relief for the oil sector though theft has cost the country around 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

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