During the past few months civil unrest in the western Niger Delta has caused disruptions to approximately 40% of the oil production in the area, however, offshore facilities remained largely unaffected.
On Sunday, Shell took out a full-page advertisement in the Nigerian press to warn militants that the firm was aware of their alleged plans to attack the facility. "The advert is a strategy to tell them that we are aware of the threat and we have taken stern security measures to forestall it," a Shell spokesperson said.
"Information reaching us reveals that anytime from now, the vessel could be boarded by force of arms and set on fire," the Shell statement said. "Well meaning community contacts reveal that, as part of these plans, drums of petrol have been acquired, awaiting the signal to attack," it said.
Two re-fitted World War II patrol boats have been donated to Nigeria by the Pentagon and were this week deployed to the western Delta to protect the oil industry.
The FPSO Sea Eagle has a storage capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude and is designed to process 170,000 barrels per day of gross liquid and 100 million standard cubic feet per day of gas. Shell is the operator of the EA Field, other partners are NNPC and Agip.
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