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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:43, January 19, 2006
Shell loses 221,000 bpd after sabotage in Nigeria
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Royal Dutch Shell was losing a total of 221,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) due to a spate of attacks on its oil facilities and the abduction of its workers in southern Nigeria in the past month, a company statement said on Wednesday.

However, "the majority of SPDC's (Shell Petroleum Development Co., Shell's subsidiary in Nigeria) production in Nigeria remains unaffected. Production levels remain unchanged," the statement said.

Shell had evacuated at least 326 people on duty from four flow stations, Benisede, Opukushi, Ogbotobo and Tunu, in the southern state of Bayelsa this week, after the Benisede flow station was attacked by armed persons on Sunday. A Shell catering contractor staff was killed during the attack.

The four flow stations with an output of 106,000 bpd were actually shut down on January 11 as a result of the explosion of one of the firm's major pipelines in the west of the troubled Niger Delta, home to the majority of Nigeria's oil.

"SPDC continues to keep the situation in the Western Delta under review," the oil giant said. "We will return to these areas when normality is restored ... SPDC remains committed to operating in the Niger Delta."

"Separately and unrelated to recent events, production at the offshore EA field remains shut in for technical reasons, after briefly resuming production last week. This is a deferment of 115, 000 bpd," it added.

The company said it continued to "cooperate with the authorities and offer every assistance we can for the safe release of those held hostage" who were abducted from the EA field on January 11.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo set up a committee to ensure the "prompt release" of four oil workers on Tuesday after a high-level meeting with senior government officials, security chiefs and state governors in the Niger Delta region.

In a statement, the president appealed to the kidnappers "not to do anything that might result in the loss of lives." The four abducted were a Briton, an American, a Bulgarian and a Honduran with Shell's two subcontractors, Tidex and Ecodrill.

A previously unknown group, who calls itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, had claimed responsibility for the series of attacks in the last one month.

In an email to Nigeria's newspaper The Guardian, the group said "We are fighting for the control of our resources, which we have resolved can only be achieved by the use of force." The group warned that from February 1, it would start more "aggressive tactics aimed at oil company workers and their families in the Niger Delta" and shift the operations from the creeks into the cities.

The group said it would not accept money from the oil companies to stop its present mission. It called the moves to offer them money to stop their dastardly act "bribe" with "blood money."

Nigeria is the biggest oil producer in Africa with a daily output of 2.5 million barrels, while Shell accounts for half of the country's oil production, but the situation in the Niger Delta region in the south of the country is turbulent.

Local villagers frequently shut off oil wells, kidnap oil workers or commit other forms of violence to blackmail companies operating in the oil fields as they accuse the oil firms of not doing anything to develop the impoverished area.

Source: Xinhua

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