xtramsn.co.nz (New Zealand): Shell Ends Month-Long Nigeria Oil Shut-In: “Royal Dutch Shell has ended a dispute over jobs and development with a Nigerian community that had forced it to shut in 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude for a month, a company source said” (ShellNews.net) 5 Jan 05
05/01/2005 10:50 AM - Dino Mahtani - Reuters
Royal Dutch Shell has ended a dispute over jobs and development with a Nigerian community that had forced it to shut in 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude for a month, a company source said.
Production held back from affected flow stations in the turbulent Niger Delta, where unarmed villagers from the community of Kula besieged flow stations operated by Shell and US oil company ChevronTexaco on December 5, would likely resume from Wednesday after routine checks, said the source.
"We have received word from the government that the Kula delegates have agreed to let us go ahead and resume the 100,000 barrels per day. We have to make on site checks of the facilities tomorrow, but we are optimistic," the source said.
Leaders of the remote fishing village last week struck a deal with ChevronTexaco, allowing it to resume production from its 20,000 bpd Robertkiri flow station, after the company agreed to pledge money for road building.
Kula community leaders had said the delay in ending the dispute with Shell, which produces almost half of Nigeria's crude, was due to their reluctance to make similar promises to the impoverished community.
The occupations of the Shell and Chevron flow stations briefly trapped 100 oil workers on the terminals.
Shell shut in 70,000 bpd from its Ekulama I and II flow stations and later shut in an additional 30,000 bpd from nearby terminals, including its Belema flow station, due to subsequent restrictions on movements of its repair teams.
The shutdown prompted the company to declare a force majeure on 114,000 bpd on December 22. Some 70,000 bpd were related to the Kula dispute, while the remaining 44,000 bpd were due to the separate issue of recent pipeline sabotage in the Egbema area.
Repairs were already under way at Egbema, with the losses expected to last another week, said the Shell source.
Feuds between multinationals, government and communities are common in the vast wetlands of the Niger Delta, which pumps most of Nigeria's 2.3 million bpd of oil and have fed a growing trend of violent conflict, sabotage, extortion and hostage taking.
An insurgency last year in the eastern delta by a warlord who said he wanted a better deal for his impoverished people forced oil workers to leave the delta and helped push crude prices to record highs above US$50 a barrel.
An industrial dispute with workers last year also forced French oil multinational Total to briefly shut in 225,000 bpd for security reasons. Chevron still has 140,000 bpd from a total capacity of 440,000 still closed down after an upsurge in ethnic violence in the western delta in 2003.
Click here for ShellNews.net HOME PAGE