Oil Majors Say Nigerian Production Still Halted

ChevronTexaco has returned some staff to its main Nigerian oil terminal Escravos, although production remains shut in due to ethnic violence. The company put a small number of people back at the terminal to ensure the facilities are able to start up production swiftly. Escravos production of 440,000 barrels per day was still shut down and the return of staff to the west Niger Delta producing region depended on government security. "We can't say what the condition of the production area is, we suspect there may have been some looting, so a return to production depends on checking the facilities," according to a ChevronTexaco spokesperson.

Shell said it still had 370,000 barrels per day of production shut in. The company has shut down approximately 320,000 bpd of Forcados production in the west Delta, leaving around 180,000 bpd of capacity from unaffected areas, while another 50,000 bpd of Bonny Light output has been shut down in the east due to theft.

President Olusegun Obasanjo is due to meet representatives of the Ijaw and Itsekiri gropus in the capital early next week, and oil companies have said they will not return to the region until the government guarantees their safety.