Nigeria’s Oil Export Suffers Setback

From Business Day

The expected rise in Nigeria’s crude oil export in February may not after all materialise as ExxonMobil has again declared force majeure on Qua Iboe, the nation’s key oil export grade due to pipeline repair work.
The disruptions to Qua Iboe loadings mean that three out of 11 cargoes originally scheduled to load in February will be delayed until March, it was gathered.

Qua Iboe is Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream with exports. Before this announcement, it was expected to produce around 400,000 bpd in February, according to shipping schedules.

A recent Reuters report had indicated that oil supplies in Nigeria were due to rise in February to 2.18 million barrels per day (bpd) or by around 10 percent more than in January, after flooding and theft late last year caused major disruptions to exports.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Nigerian crude oil exports were impeded by several declarations of force majeure – a clause that means a company will not be able to meet its contractual obligations due to events beyond its control – by some oil majors.

In September, exports fell to 1.81 million bpd due in part to the Qua Iboe and Forcados force majeure. Production was, however, boosted by the new Usan grade, which came on stream in February 2012.

In October, crude oil exports again suffered a major set-back as Royal Dutch Shell declared force majeure on exports of the Bonny and Forcados grades of crude oil due to pipeline damage caused by oil thieves and flooding. The force majeure declaration on Bonny Light was lifted early in November while the one on Forcados was lifted at the end of November.

Early November, Italian oil firm Eni declared a force majeure on Nigerian oil exports which was lifted late January, raising hopes that supply problems would end in Nigeria.

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