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Exxon Subsidiary Begins Nigerian Cleanup

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LAGOS, Nigeria - Mobil Producing Nigeria, or MPN, has commenced the cleanup of an oil spill that occurred off the coast of Nigeria's southeastern Akwa Ibom state from a pipeline system, the company said Sunday.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria regrets this incident. Our teams are being mobilized to clean up the area. We apologize for the inconveniences that it has caused," Mark Ward, MPN's managing director, said in a company statement.

MPN, Exxon's local unit, had said on Saturday that the source of leak that occurred on Nov. 9 was identified and the pipeline was shut down. The company did not say the volume of oil that may be lost following the shutdown.

The cleanup activities are being coordinated with the Department of Petroleum Resources, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Environment and local community leaders, the statement said.

Dispersants and boom are being deployed as sanctioned by regulatory authorities while the company said more than 100 personnel will be involved in the cleanup response.

MPN added that an investigation into the cause of the release is ongoing.

The MPN pipeline shutdown and the shutdown by Royal Dutch Shell PLC of the Imo River pipeline on Oct. 31 after it found several oil crude theft points on the facility--which resulted in 25,000 barrels of oil per day being deferred--will result in lower oil production by Nigeria, Africa's largest crude producer.

Shell said in a statement Sunday that the Imo River pipeline is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline which suffered a similar fate at Mogho when thieves installed two crude valves on Nov. 11, barely 24 hours after the last of such valves were repaired at Biara, also in Ogoni land.

The two crude theft valves have been closed and the line is being reopened, Shell said. 

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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