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Yahoo! News: Shell Hopes to Restart Platform Production: “Hundreds of men, women and children stormed oil platforms to demand a greater share of oil wealth in the protests…” ( 14 Jan 05


By DANIEL BALINT-KURTI, Associated Press Writer


LAGOS, Nigeria - Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos.'s Nigerian subsidiary hopes to restart operations quickly at all oil platforms where output was cut off after demonstrations last month, a spokesman for the company said.


Three days of protests in early December in southern Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta forced Shell, the country's top oil firm, to shut down five oil platforms producing 114,000 barrels per day of oil output.


Nigeria is Africa's top oil exporter, and the fifth largest supplier of crude to the U.S. Protests are common in the Niger Delta, where poor villagers feel they should benefit more from oil revenues.


Hundreds of men, women and children stormed oil platforms to demand a greater share of oil wealth in the protests, which also forced U.S. firm ChevronTexaco to cut off its production of 20,000 barrels per day. ChevronTexaco restarted pumping before the end of December.


Shell has been slower in restarting production, citing technical problems for the delays at its platforms in Nigeria's Rivers State.


Shell restarted production at the Ekulama I flow station Thursday, spokesman Simon Buerk said by telephone from London.


"We're hoping Awoba North may be opened later today," he said, speaking Friday. That would mean all five platforms shut down by Shell would have restarted, although Buerk would not say whether that would bring production back up to the pre-December level.


On Thursday, Shell said that it had restored 65,000 barrels per day of output.


Buerk said that 8,000 barrels per day of oil is still cut off at the Odeama flow station in the Niger Delta state of Bayelsa. Villagers shut down that platform a week ago, demanding Shell repair a generator it had bought them.


Shell says it has agreed to repair the generator, and is negotiating to secure an agreement to restart production.


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