Shell Restarts Production at Bonga Oil Field After Spill

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 5, 2012

Shell said Thursday it had restarted production at its Bonga oil field offshore Nigeria, after an oil leak in December forced it to shut down the facility.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major was forced to shut down the facility, after a leak during a tanker loading operation on Dec. 20 led to Nigeria's worst offshore oil spill in more than a decade.

Investigation into the exact cause of the leak is still ongoing, but Shell said it had completed the clean-up from the spill and resumed output on Jan. 1 at the 200,000 barrel a day oil field, which makes up some 10% of Nigeria's total oil output.

"We have isolated the faulty line, which was the only one of its type in the Bonga field, and reinforced our asset integrity and safety program," said Shell Nigeria Country Chairman, Mutiu Sunmonu in a statement. "This, together with additional inspection testing and monitoring, is what gives us the confidence that it is safe to restart," he added.

The company also restated its denial of accusations from Nigerian villagers that oil which washed up on the shoreline last week was from the Bonga spill.

According to Shell, oil from the Bonga leak--which resulted in at least 40,000 barrels of oil spilling into the ocean--had largely dispersed by Dec. 25 thanks to the combined response efforts of the company, its partners and the Nigerian government.

"Satellite and aerial imagery has confirmed that the Bonga oil leak could not have reached coastlines in the eastern Niger Delta, as some media articles have suggested," Sunmonu said.

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


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