(South Africa): Shell cleans up crude oil spill:
Lagos - Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, said on
Tuesday it had stepped up environmental cleansing and
was repairing a pipeline that exploded in Nigeria, but
couldn't immediately confirm if it had reduced or
eliminated the loss of 35 000 barrels a day.
A company spokesperson said: "The latest
information from our head office in Port Harcourt is
that we are intensifying the cleaning of spilled crude
and to deliver relief materials to affected and
displaced people in the communities.
"Some of the relief materials we are distributing
to the affected people are food, water and clothing
Limited production resumed on Saturday in the
affected part of the Niger Delta, but the company
maintained a state of force majeure, a measure allowing
oil firms to breach their supply contracts in very
On Monday, the spokesperson said the shortfall was
"down to 35 000 barrels a day (bpd) only", but at the
height of the crisis after the pipeline exploded on
December 21, it was 180 000 barrels a day, meaning a cut
of seven percent in oil supplies from Africa's main
He said he was unsure yet on Tuesday midday if the
losses had been reduced from 35 000 bpd or totally
According to the police, at least eight people
were killed in communities hit by the blast and it took
fire crews and engineers three days to put out the blaze
after turning off oil feeding it from flow stations,
finally putting out the inferno on Friday.
Foreign oil companies
The spokesperson said: "Force majeure is still in
force although there have been loading of crude for
export at Bonny terminal. Force majeure has to be
formally lifted, it might happen when the remaining
delayed loadings are done."
The cause of the blast had not been determined,
but investigators suspected the pipeline was
deliberately blown up with dynamite.
The foreign oil companies that operated in
Nigeria's oil-rich south faced strong local opposition
among members of local communities - who felt they
suffered all the environmental hazards - but got almost
none of the wealth.
Oil employees kidnapped
Oil was Nigeria's almost sole source of foreign
earnings, but militant youth groups in the south
frequently attacked installations and kidnapped oil
employees for ransom because they said local people saw
For decades, the minority ethnic communities of
the region had complained not only of dire poverty, but
also the harmful effects of pollution and toxic waste.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a
state of alert in the delta because of the deaths and
after a shadowy, hitherto unknown group claimed
responsibility for the explosion.
Nigeria was Africa's biggest crude producer and
sixth biggest worldwide exporter.
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