Shell set to resume exports from Forcadoes Terminal as NDA attacks Chevron pipeline
By Yemie ADEOYE with Agency reports
LAGOS-THE Nigerian Government has issued a statement affirming that Royal Dutch Shell will resume exports from the Forcados terminal in the oil rich Niger Delta region, just as American oil giant Chevron suffers a major blow on one of its lines in Escravos area of the Niger-Delta region.
“The Shell Director, Mr. Andrew Brown, informed the President of the resumption of oil exportation through the Forcados terminal following its restoration,” the Nigerian presidency said following a meeting between Brown and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Operations at Forcados had been halted after an attack last February against the facility attributed to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). Some 250,000 to 300,000 barrels of crude were produced prior to the assault.
The Petroleum Ministry announced intentions to raise daily crude output to 1.9 million barrels per day, but that goal is in danger from activity by militant groups active in the Niger Delta. Prior to the announcement of the reopening of Forcados, the NDA attacked Chevron’s offshore export pipeline at Escravos on Tuesday.
“This action is to further warn all IOCs (international oil companies) that when we warn that there should be no repairs pending negotiation/dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta, it means there should be no repairs,” an NDA statement read according to OilPrice.com.
“Any attempt to use dialogue to distract us so as to allow the free flow of our oil will halt the dialogue process,” noted the militants, whose strategy of targeting oil and gas infrastructure is part of their armed push against the government.
Meanwhile the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), has claimed responsibility for the blowing up of Chevron’s Escravos Export Pipeline at Escravos Offshore. A statement by the group, signed by Major General Mudoch Agbinigbo, said the pipeline attack took place at about 3:45 am on Tuesday and was carried out by its Strike Team 06.
The group similarly announced that the attack was executed as a further warning to international oil companies that there should be no repairs to damaged pipelines pending negotiations and dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta.
“Any attempt to use dialogue to distract us so as to allow the free flow of our oil will halt the dialogue process,” the group threatened.
Regarding the dangers of oil exploration in the Niger Delta, Buhari underlined the importance of ensuring safety to the oil infrastructure while also urging firms to take greater efforts to compliment state security efforts. Brown, meanwhile, urged the government to provide continued protection for the Forcados site by the Nigerian Navy.
“Brown commended the anti-corruption posture of the Buhari administration as well as the efforts to streamline and stabilize the economy for long term projects, saying all the efforts will go a long way to reinforce Shell investment plans in Nigeria,” the presidency statement added.