Shell says oil pipeline leak in Nigeria slashes daily output

Jul 25, 2006 02:00 AM

Royal Dutch Shell has said that a leak to an oil pipeline in southern Nigeria has cut its output there by 180,000 bpd.
"A total of 180,000 bpd has been temporally shut in and we don't know when it will be back," Shell spokeswoman Caroline Wittgen told.

Shell has so far failed to uncover the cause of the leak to the Sambarth-Karkrama pipeline in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The news was a factor pushing crude futures above $ 75 per barrel in London and New York trading. World oil prices were supported also by violence in the Middle East and concerns over refinery shut-downs in the United States, dealers said.
The Shell leak meanwhile came as Nigeria was already experiencing a cut of about 20.0 % in its oil production, or 500,000 bpd, owing to militant unrest in the Niger Delta.

The latest disruption has cut the country's oil production by more than 26.0 %. Under normal circumstances, Nigeria's daily output totals 2.6 mm bpd. Nigeria, which is the biggest producer of oil in Africa and the world's sixth-biggest exporter of crude, exports almost as much as it produces.
The Sambarth-Karkrama pipeline, in the east of the Delta, measures 0.7 metres in diameter and is linked to the Bonny oil field.

News of the leak came as Niger Delta militants accused US oil firm Chevron of using the Nigerian military to attack ethnic Ijaw villagers and warned of reprisals if the attacks continued.
"If this incessant harassment is not stopped forthwith, we are not going to hesitate to descend mercilessly on ChevronTexaco Nigeria's interests anywhere in Nigeria," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said.

It said a similar attack by the Nigerian military in February forced the militants to kidnap nine expatriate oil workers who were released after several days in captivity.
About 25 security personnel have been killed since January when separatist militants seeking local control of Nigeria's multi-billion-dollar oil and gas resources launched attacks on oil firms and personnel in the region. At least 32 expatriate oil workers have also been kidnapped but all have been released unharmed after days or weeks in captivity.

Source: AFP
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