Shell increases output in protest-hit Nigerian area

Jan 13, 2005 01:00 AM

Shell has increased crude oil output to 65,000 bpd following the reopening of some oil pumping stations shut down as a result of community unrest in southern Nigeria, a spokesman said.
"Ekulama II is up and running," he said, referring to one of several oil pumping stations recently reopened after more than a month's closure.

Community unrest had obliged Shell to shut down some facilities accounting for a daily output of some 130,000 barrels since December 5, 2004, when angry villagers from Kula briefly occupied them. The shut-down forced Shell to declare "force majeure", warning clients that it would not be able to meet export contracts from its Bonny terminal until early February.
Earlier, the company resumed production of 47,000 barrels with the reopening of its Belema and Santa Barbara plants in Rivers State, leaving some 90,000 barrels still halted in other stations in the coastal swamps of the Niger Delta region.

But a spokesman told another plant -- Ekulama II -- resumed production after successfully carrying out inspection checks on the facility, raising its output to 65,000 barrels from the area. He said inspection checks were progressing on Ekulama I, adding: "We hope to reopen it before the end of the week."
The spokesman said the company was holding talks with irate villagers who attempted to occupy the Odeama Creek station, some 30 km (19 miles) to the west of Ekulama, causing a production loss of 8,000 barrels. The villagers were protesting because a power generator provided for them by Shell had broken down and they expected the company to repair it for them.

Shell is Nigeria's biggest operator, accounting for almost half of the west African country's daily exports of 2.5 mm barrels.
The company, like most oil majors operating in the coastal swamps of the oil-rich but troubled Niger delta, are regularly the target of community protests and hostage-taking.

Source: AFP
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