NNPC Has Other Fields To Compensate for Loss of Escravos

A senior executive from Nigeria's state oil company said on Friday that other oil producing fields in the country had compensated for output losses resulting from the closure of the Escravos field.

The head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp's crude marketing division E.M. Ajanaku said that the Escravos field resumed production late on Thursday and he expected output to get back to normal soon. Ajanaku said the output loss as a result of a fire over the weekend and recent protests amounted to about two to three million barrels or the equivalent of 200,000-300,000 barrels per day (bpd) over 10 days. ChevronTexaco is expected to lift the force majeure it declared on exports from the Escravos terminal very soon.

ChevronTexaco said on Thursday its main 340,000 bpd crude export terminal in southern Nigeria remained shut after a fire last weekend as protests continued at oil flow stations inland. On Monday, the company declared force majeure on its oil exports, meaning it is not able to meet sales contracts, after the fire forced it to shut down oilfields in the western Niger Delta -- losing 300,000 bpd, a company source said. The Escravos production is a 60:40 joint venture with NNPC. Chevron Nigeria operated production averaged 479,000 bpd in 2001, including partners' and royalty share.

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, has production capacity of up to 2.5 million bpd but had trimmed output to around 1.85 million bpd in June versus its OPEC quota of 1.787 million bpd, according to a Reuters survey. Ajanaku said June output was at the OPEC quota level. "The other partners have raised production. We've asked Shell, ExxonMobil and other partners," he said. Shell, Nigeria's largest foreign equity producer, has production capacity of almost one million bpd but produced only 665,000 bpd in June. Shell's main crude exports from Nigeria are Bonny Light and Forcados. ExxonMobil's main Nigerian export crude is the light sweet Qua Iboe. The company operated oil and condensate production averaged 609,000 bpd last year. Foreign oil companies mostly operate the oil blocks in Nigeria in a 60:40 joint venture with NNPC.


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