YahooNews: Shell workers return to Nigeria oilfield (ShellNews.net)
Posted 7 Oct 04
LAGOS (Reuters) - Security in areas of the Niger Delta from which Royal Dutch Shell <RD.AS> <SHEL.L> evacuated 300 staff last month has improved sufficiently to allow the company to send workers back, a company spokesman says.
Nigeria's largest oil producer expects to reopen 30,000 barrels per day of output closed by the evacuation once workers have returned to the sites.
"Some areas have been declared as relatively safe. We have the green flag to send some people back," said the spokesman on Wednesday, adding that it was now up to local managers to decide how many people were required at the sites, about 30 miles (40 km) west of Rivers state capital Port Harcourt.
Fighting between rebel militia the military intensified last month around Port Harcourt, culminating in a threat by warlord Mujahid Dokubo-Asari to shut down oil operations in the delta, which pumps almost all of the nation's 2.3 million barrels per day.
After three days of talks with the government, Asari withdrew his threat and signed a peace deal last Friday.
Shell evacuated about 300 workers from three oilfields and closed about 30,000 barrels per day from two flow stations during the crisis. But the company's output remained in line with average levels earlier this year, around 1.0 million bpd.