Vanguard (Nigeria): Shell, Chevron suspend 134,000 b/d Nigeria oil exports: “Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, with exports of around 2.5 million barrels per day, but the wealth generated by the industry has been misused and three-quarters of the 130-million strong population live in abject poverty.” (ShellNews.net) 28 Dec 04
By Hector Igbikiowubo with Agency Report
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
OIL giants Shell and ChevronTexaco have been forced to suspend exports totalling 134,000 barrels of oil per day from Nigeria, due to community problems in some operating locations in the Niger Delta area, spokesmen of both companies have disclosed.
A Shell spokesman said that the company had declared a “force majeure” to warn clients that it would not be able to meet export contracts from its Bonny terminal. ChevronTexaco also disclosed that it was affected by the shutdown.
“We have notified our customers that we will not be able to meet our loading and lifting commitments and this will be in force till February,” a spokesman for Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary said.
“We are having problems with our host communities which are disrupting operations,” he said, putting lost exports at 114,000 barrels of crude per day.
Vanguard gathered that the communities affected by the declared ‘force majeure’ include Kula and others in the East area operations.
On efforts to normalise the situation, Mr. Don Boham, Shell’s External Relation’s Manager, disclosed that the Rivers State government has intervened and that it is expected that the issues at stake would be resolved before long.
While speaking on the development, Mr. Deji Haastrup, Chevron Nigeria Limited’s spokesman, disclosed that the company has also shut-in 20,000 barrels per day which it handles through Shell’s terminal. He disclosed that the company will resume operations as soon as Shell lifts the force majeure imposed recently.
It would be recalled that in early December, hundreds of villagers from the Kula community near Bonny Island in Rivers State invaded two Shell oil pumping stations and one run by ChevronTexaco in a protest over what they described was poor investment in the development of their area.
They also said that the activities of the two companies operating in the area have impacted the environment and affected their sources of livelihood.
The timely intervention of the Rivers State government mediators calmed frayed nerves and persuaded the protesters to vacate the facilities of both companies, but the companies have promised not to restart production until the dispute is settled.
Operations of both companies have been at the receiving end of community related disturbances including shut-ins, kidnaping for ransom, hostile seizure of facilities, brutal killings and pipeline vandalism most often leading to work stoppage.
A summary of communities demands in the Niger Delta shows that they want control of their resources, rather than have proceeds from oil and gas fields located in their domain accrue to the Federal Government which only hands back a pittance through the state and local government authority.
Investigations show that even the pittance handed back through these two other tiers of government is deliberately grossly mismanaged, or spirited away through bogus contract awards to surrogate companies.
Even the attempt by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to address the problem through the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not succeeded in dousing the restiveness in the area.
Similarly, the government’s increase in the amount of derivation paid to oil producing states which was increased to 13 per cent has also not succeeded in addressing the repeated calls for resource control.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, with exports of around 2.5 million barrels per day, but the wealth generated by the industry has been misused and three-quarters of the 130-million strong population live in abject poverty.
Oil firms operating in the Niger Delta are often targeted by locals, usually peaceful protesters but sometimes by armed pirates and ethnic militants.