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Shell resumes output in Nigeria

Shell resumes output in Nigeria

Armed attackers have lifted sieges at two oilfield stations in Nigeria, releasing more than 20 local workers and allowing some oil production to resume, industry spokesmen said on Thursday.
About 18 staff at Agip's Tebidaba oilfield in Bayelsa state were released on Tuesday after five days in captivity, while five people at Shell's nearby Nun River facility were freed on the same day after a 12-day siege.
A Shell spokesman said the company had begun to resume production of 14,000 barrels per day from Nun River, but industry sources said Agip's Tebidaba facility had not resumed its 40,000 bpd output.
"Nun River reopened on December 26 and production is ramping up," a Shell spokesman said.
Another four oil workers - three Italians and one Lebanese - are still being held hostage by a different armed group after an attack on Agip's Brass River export terminal on December 7.
The three Italians were allowed to call home on Thursday and the Italian Foreign Ministry said they told relatives that they were fine.
Agip is a unit of Italian oil giant Eni, whose chief executive visited President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday to discuss the crisis. Company spokesmen said it was unclear what led to the lifting of the two oilfield sieges, but that talks with the attackers were led by the state government and involved elders from nearby villages.
The attackers had demanded money, jobs and infrastructure for their communities in the remote region of mangrove-lined creeks and swamp in southern Nigeria.
The four foreign Agip staff are being held by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which says it has spurned ransom offers and wants the Nigerian government to release two jailed leaders from the region.
It has threatened to keep the men for six months.
Kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities have become an almost weekly occurrence in the world's eighth largest exporter in the run-up to landmark elections in April.
Western oil companies last week evacuated hundreds of dependents of expatriate staff after two car bombings by MEND at oil company compounds in the regional capital Port Harcourt.
Senior industry executives say the rising tide of violence could force them to withdraw from some areas completely.
Shell has already shut down its entire oil operation in the western side of the delta after a series of attacks in February which cut the OPEC nation's oil output by a fifth.
Violence in the delta is rooted in poverty and neglect by the government, which has failed to convert the region's huge resources into improved living conditions for its inhabitants.
Impoverished villages, often deprived of power, tarred roads, schools and hospitals, sit next to gleaming oilfield stations manned by foreign workers and defended by soldiers.
Industry executives expect violence to escalate further in the runup to elections, as local politicians fight turf wars for access to elected office and a slice of the government's oil revenue that goes with it.


Updated : 2021-04-19 02:57 GMT+08:00