ChevronTexaco Shuts Down Production in Nigeria

Chevron Nigeria Ltd. has shut in almost 400,000 barrels a day of crude oil at its Escravos oil terminal in southern Nigeria after a fire broke out at the facility Saturday, according to a company official. One of the terminal's tanks was set ablaze by lightning Saturday. The company said the affected tank contained 180,000 bbl of crude. Chevron produces about 450,000 b/d of crude in a joint venture with the state- run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

The company will declare force majeure on oil exports from its Escravos terminal in southern Nigeria. The force majeure is expected to affect 400,000-450,000 barrels a day of crude oil exports.

Chevron's decision Sunday to shut in close to 400,000 b/d of crude oil was also linked to an invasion earlier in July at its flow stations in Escravos by women from its host communities, which had earlier cut off about 110,000 b/d of crude from four flow stations. The fire happened as Chevron officials were preparing for negotiations with the women for an end to the occupation of the oil facilities. The women are demanding jobs and amenities for the host communities.

The company spokesman gave no indication of how long he expected the shut in to continue. He said the fire had been brought under control, but production would only resume after checks certify that the pipelines at the terminal are safe to resume operations.