Monday, March 9, 2009

Shell declares 'force majeure' for Nigeria's Forcados crude

By Alexander Kwiatkowski

March 9 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, suspended export obligations for Nigeria’s Forcados crude after a pipeline was sabotaged last week.

Shell’s Nigerian unit declared a so-called force majeure on exports in the remainder of March and April effective from March 7, company spokesman Rainer Winzenried said in a telephone interview today. Force majeure is a legal clause that allows producers to miss contracted deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control.

Forcados production was disrupted last week after rebels blew up part of the Trans-Escravos pipeline which supplies crude from oilfields to the Forcados export terminal. Flow stations at the pipeline were shut following the attack.

Attacks on oil pipelines and production facilities have disrupted Nigeria’s crude production since 2006. Last month, Shell suspended normal deliveries of its Bonny Light crude from Nigeria because of security concerns in the Niger Delta.

Forcados exports were scheduled to average 214,516 barrels a day in March and 291,667 barrels a day in April, according to loading schedules obtained by Bloomberg.

Nigerian crude is the light sweet variety of oil favored by U.S. refiners for the quantity of gasoline it produces.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in London at

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