LAGOS (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Friday lifted a force majeure on crude oil exports from Nigeria after repairing a supply pipeline that has been repeatedly sabotaged in the country’s oil region.
Shell’s subsidiary in Nigeria (SPDC) said it “lifted the force majeure on Bonny Light exports effective noon today…following repair of recent spill points on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP).”
Force majeure is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control. Bonny Light is one of the main grades of crude produced in Nigeria.
The force majeure was declared on October 10 as a result of spills recorded on the pipeline in the volatile oil-rich Ogoniland.
Shell has since restored production of 150,000 barrels per day of crude shut in as a result of the incident.
“Joint investigation of the spills has now been completed and the various reports signed off by all participants,” the company said.
Shell said it regretted the spills, adding that a detailed investigation of the root cause of the pipeline failure was underway.
It also promised to compensate the affected communities.
“Arrangements for payment of compensation are being made in conjunction with people in Bunu-Tai and Nonwa-Tai, the two communities which the joint investigation confirmed were impacted by the spill,” it said.
The TNP has been repeatedly attacked by vandals and oil thieves, with Shell claiming the pipeline has been closed down at least five times since early July.
Shell has blamed repeated oil thefts and sabotage of key pipelines as the major cause of spills and pollution in the oil-producing region.
Crude oil theft is a major problem in Nigeria, with estimates that the country loses some $6 billion in revenue per year.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer, accounting for more than two million barrels per day.