Africa: Major Niger Delta oil spill : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Africa: Major Niger Delta oil spill

By Barnaby Phillips in the Niger Delta

The multi-national oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, has cut its production in Nigeria's Niger Delta region by about 130,000 barrels per day to prevent a spill from spreading.

Oil spills are commonplace in the Niger Delta region.

Companies operating there say they often result from deliberate acts of sabotage.

Shell says it has acted quickly to prevent the Delta's latest oil pollution incident in a river near the town of Warri from worsening.


After locating the oil slick from the air, the company cut its production in the entire western Delta by more than a quarter whilst divers tried to repair the damaged pipeline. Industry sources say the sabotage is a distinct possibility as a barge that could have been used to transport stolen crude was seen in the vicinity of the oilslick.

Shell has not provided details of the extent of the damage but similar spills in the Delta have often had devastating effects on local fishermen and farmers.

Although Nigeria is an important member of OPEC, this incident is not likely to have an impact on the international oil price.

Shell has not yet declared what is known as force majeure - the process whereby it announces it will be unable to meet any of its export commitments.

However, if the shutdown were to be prolonged, Shell could struggle to maintain exports at their current level.

-- Carl Jenkins (, September 12, 2000

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