Nigeria Oil Advisor Confirms Exxon Production Has Resumed

HOUSTON, (Dow Jones Newswires), May 07, 2008

A senior Nigerian petroleum official Wednesday confirmed that Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) lifted its force majeure on its energy operations and said he expects Nigerian output to reach 2.2 million barrels a day in the next week or two.

"They're back to work and producing," Emmanuel Egbogah, Special Advisor to the President on petroleum, told reporters on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference.

Exxon declared force majeure on its energy operations April 28 as a precaution in case it couldn't meet its contractual obligations following a shut-in of around 800,000 barrels a day of output following a strike by workers.

Egbogah said Nigeria's output was 1.5 million barrels a day when he left the country three days ago. He told Dow Jones he expects Nigeria to reach about 2.2 million barrels in "a week or two."

Nigeria's production capacity stands at around 2.5 million barrels a day, but it has struggled to reach that level due to social unrest.

Egbogah said the international oil giants that operate in Nigeria "need to do more because they have abandoned their own responsibilities."

Besides doing more to maintain the physical environment, the private companies should work to provide clean water and decent schools in Nigeria, Egbogah said.

Besides Exxon, other oil majors with big Nigerian operations include Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSA). The companies have announced a variety of public health and community efforts over the years.

"If they would take care of the area where they work, then I think the issue of security would not be such a problem," Egbogah said.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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