Shell Repairs Nigeria Flowstations, Output Resumes

Source: Reuters 5/1/2009, Location: Africa

Royal Dutch Shell has resumed operations at flowstations feeding into its Trans-Niger oil pipeline in southern Nigeria, a spokeswoman said, two weeks after it was shut down due to a fire.

The Anglo-Dutch giant said it finished repairs at the Bomu manifold in Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta region, last Monday and has restarted production.

The cause of the blaze that shut operations on April 12 was not known.

"Repairs have been completed. Production resumed a few days ago and is ramping up," Shell spokeswoman Caroline Wittgen said.

She declined to say how much production has resumed.

Traders said prior to the disruption the pipeline carried around 120,000 barrels per day of Bonny Light crude, although they were unsure how much of this was shut in.

Bonny Light is a sweet Nigerian crude that is popular with U.S. and European refiners.

Wittgen said force majeure, which frees Shell from its contractual obligations, remained in place for Bonny Light shipments.

The Trans-Niger pipeline crosses Ogoniland, a region where Shell closed its production operations in 1993 due largely to popular protests over pollution and lack of development.

President Umaru Yar'Adua announced last year that the government would give the oilfields to another company after Shell abandoned them.

Shell said not long afterwards that it would not mount a legal challenge to the plan, but villagers last year staged protests against the company, accusing it of trying to force its way back into the area.

Acts of sabotage against oil pipelines are common across the Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil industry.

Violence in the region has cut the OPEC member's production by one fifth in the last three years. (Reporting by Randy Fabi, Editing by Peter Blackburn)

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Related Categories: Consultancy  Engineering  FEED  General  Maintenance and Repair  Process Technology Licensing  Production Engineering  Project & Resource Management 

Related Articles: Consultancy  Engineering  FEED  General  Maintenance and Repair  Process Technology Licensing  Production Engineering  Project & Resource Management 

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