15 May 2013, Lagos – Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has halted crude exports from a key terminal in southern Nigeria because of a leak in a supply pipeline, a spokesman said Thursday.
“We declared force majeure on Forcados exports effective 6:00 pm Tuesday due to a series of leaks on the NPDC-operated Trans Forcados pipeline,” Precious Okolobo said in a text message to AFP in Lagos. Force majeure is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations when faced with circumstances beyond its control.
The NPDC is a subsidiary of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which has a joint venture with Shell. With a capacity of 400,000 barrels of crude per day, Forcados is one of Nigeria’s main export terminals. Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer, accounting for roughly two million barrels of crude daily.
Shell has blamed repeated oil thefts and sabotage of key pipelines as the major cause of spills and pollution in the oil-producing region. Crude oil theft is a major problem in Nigeria, with estimates that the country loses some $6 billion in revenue per year.