Shell declares force majeure on Forcados oil shipments
Mon Mar 9, 2009
LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has declared force majeure on its Nigerian Forcados oil shipments due to the impact of explosions on a pipeline last week, it said on Monday.
"Shell's joint venture has declared force majeure from Saturday on outstanding March and April Forcados offtakes," a Shell spokesman said.
Forcados exports were due to be around 184,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March and 285,000 bpd in April. Shell could not confirm how much of this would now be delayed or cancelled.
"The explosions on the trans-Escravos pipeline the weekend before last shut in some production. We're still working to recover the spilt oil and repair the pipeline," the company spokesman said.
Last week, Shell said it had shut in a number of oil installations after explosions on a pipeline that may have been due to sabotage.
The blasts caused at least three punctures to the 24-inch trans-Escravos pipeline, which sends crude oil from Shell's Forcados oilfields to the Escravos oil export terminal in Nigeria's Niger Delta.
A senior official from Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC, which jointly operates the pipeline with Shell's Nigerian unit SPDC, said as much as 70,000 bpd had been shut down due to the damage.
Nigeria's most prominent militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), called off a ceasefire a month ago. But it has not claimed any significant strikes against the industry, partly because the military has stepped up a campaign to flush out its fighters. (Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by James Jukwey)