SHELL MAY RESUME PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA SOON
A YEAR after being forced to shut down more than half of its oil output in Nigeria because of militant violence, oil giant, Shell said it expected to resume full production within the next five to six months, after agreeing with local communities that it could safely return to the Niger Delta.
"We see this year as a year when we start clawing back our production," Basil Omiyi, the Shell Nigeria managing director, said in Abuja. "I don't see anything standing in our way of restarting our production."
Omiyi, in his first extensive comments in over a year said that in return for being allowed back in the Western Delta, Shell planned to significantly increase the amount of work it awards to local communities by shifting more service contracts to local villages and businesses. That includes things such as food catering, barge or boat leasing, maintenance, or water transportation.
His comments were an indication that the company may have found an accommodation with some of the groups that have been behind the violence in the past year. In recent weeks, the company has sent teams to inspect damage to infrastructure in the Western part of the Delta and began repairs to pipelines, flow stations and other infrastructure.
More than half of Shell's total output in Nigeria, 500,000 barrels a day, has been shut down in the Western part of the Niger Delta after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) attacked several of its production and export facilities in early 2006.