Shell Shuts in 115,000 Bpd

Shell Petroleum Develop-ment Company yesterday said that it had shut in production from the EA field, located offshore Warri in Delta State, resulting in production deferment of 111,500 barrels of crude per day (bpd).
This brings to a total of 221,000 bpd of oil production or about nine percent of Nigeria�s total oil output, lost by the oil company in the last one week, to the resurgence of crises in the Niger Delta.
Also, following the recent attack on the installations of Shell and the abduction of its employees, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil has issued a safety alert to its employees asking them to stay off work until further notice.
Although Shell said the shut down of the operations in the EA field was due to technical reasons, indications that the violence in the Niger Delta may escalate further emerged yesterday following threat of attack on ExxonMobil�s Qua Iboe Oil Terminal in Akwa Ibom State.
The EA field, which had reached peak production of 120,000 bpd was first shut down last week after armed gang attacked a boat servicing the EA platform and kidnapping four expatriate oil workers in the process.
Shell said in a statement that it continued to keep the situation in the Western Delta under review but the oil firm began evacuating workers from four flowstations which had been shut down following another attack.
�This is in line with our safety and security policy and we will return to these areas when normality is restored. The safety and security of our staff, contractors and communities in which we operate is our top priority.
�The affected area is one part of the Western Delta and the majority of SPDC�s production in Nigeria remains unaffected. Production levels remain unchanged. 106,000 bpd (Shell share 30%) remains shut in from onshore production. Separately and unrelated to recent events, production at the offshore EA field remains shut in for technical reasons, after briefly resuming production last week. This is a deferment of 115,000 bpd.
�We continue to cooperate with the authorities and offer every assistance we can for the safe release of those held hostage,� the oil company added.
THISDAY gathered last night also that militants had threatened to attack the Oil Export Terminal operated by US Oil major ExxonMobil. The terminal has the capacity to hold one million barrels of crude and produces for export, 600,000 bpd of oil.
Consequently the oil firm has put all its staff on high alert, while directing non-essential staff to stay away from the complex.
THISDAY gathered that MPN in its resolve to ensure safety of its employees against any attack, issued a safety alert to some of its employees urging them not to come to work until advised to do so.
An Ijaw youth leader, Comrade Joseph Evah told THISDAY on phone yesterday that the leadership of various well-known youth organisations in the area were still trying to identify the groups unleashing the new violence.
According to him, insurgence in the Niger Delta could have been purely criminal activities or even sponsored by politicians for selfish motives.
Evah, however, said Ijaw leaders still stood by their position that the only panacea to the crises was for the Federal Government to improve the economic well being of the people.
�The problem will not be solved by moving in troops or shooting the people. It is for the government to provide jobs, build industries and gainfully engage the idle brains in the area,� he said.

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