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Shell declares force majeur on Bonny light crude

LAGOS (AFP) – Shell warned Thursday it may fail to meet some contractual obligations after a  pipeline was sabotaged, while adding that production has resumed at a major offshore field following a large spill.

“Shell has declared a force majeur on Bonny light crude following a deferment caused by a sabotage-related spill leading to our shutting down 70,000 barrels per day of oil,” spokesman Precious Okolobo told AFP.

The Anglo-Dutch firm said it shut down production on December 24 after thieves attacked the Nembe creek pipeline in southern Nigeria to siphon crude.

The measure will remain in force during pipeline repairs, expected to be completed by end of the month.

Separately, Shell announced Thursday it has resumed production at its Bonga offshore oil field after a clean-up following a December 20 oil leak that was one of Nigeria’s worst offshore spills in recent years.

“Production resumed at Bonga on January 1, 2012, following reinforcement of asset integrity and safety programmes,” it said in a statement.

Production was shut down from the oil field after a leak occurred in a line as oil was being transferred from a production vessel to a loading tanker.

Shell said the spill amounted to less than 40,000 barrels and that it had been “largely dispersed” by December 25. Activists however reported oil slicks appeared just off the coast of communities in Bayelsa and Delta states.

Bonga, which has a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, is located some 120 kilometres off Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and an OPEC member.

It was Nigeria’s worst offshore spill since a 1998 Mobil incident, officials said, though onshore leaks have been estimated at levels far worse since that time in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

Shell also said that it had on December 27 resumed production at a shallow offshore oil field after maintenance work on a production vessel, the Sea Eagle. The Sea Eagle was shut on November 9.


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