UPDATE 2-Shell lifts force majeure on Nigeria oil

Mon Mar 3, 2008 3:15pm EST

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(Updates after Exxon Mobil's statement)

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) said on Monday it has lifted the force majeure on exports of Nigerian Bonny Light and Forcados crude.

In January, the Anglo-Dutch oil major declared force majeure on Forcados export due to sabotage to a pipeline. A large part of the grade's exports had been hit by militant attacks to another pipeline in 2006.

"Pipeline repair has been done. We are able to meet all commercial obligations," a Shell spokesman said.

Force majeure on Bonny Light exports was declared in early February, following pipeline leaks.

The Shell spokesman declined to specify current production levels for the grades. Without any problems, Bonny Light production should be around 400,000 barrels per day and Forcados around 380,000 bpd.

A spate of civil unrest and militant attacks to facilities has caused disruptions on supplies from Nigeria, Africa's largest oil exporter and an OPEC member country.

That has partly contributed to oil price rallies, which have scaled to new peaks above $100 a barrel this year.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has found what it called a minimal release of oil in the sea offshore Ibeno in Nigeria and has shut in some output as a precaution.

The U.S. oil major said Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) had temporarily shut in production from part of the western section of its joint venture operations with Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC).

"MPN has located the source of the release and is in the process of restoring production," it said in a statement.

The company did not specify the scale of the shut-in.

Traders said earlier on Monday that Exxon has delayed some of the March exports of another Nigerian Qua Iboe crude due to a pipeline leak.

Exxon operates the Qua Iboe terminal in Ibeno.

Traders said two or three cargoes of Qua Iboe for March loadings, each carrying about 950,000 barrels of oil, were likely to be delayed by up to 10 days.

The U.S. major was not available to comment or confirm the loading delay. It operates the 400,000 bpd Qua Iboe fields.

Nigeria produces gasoline rich crude oil. It is the fifth-largest crude oil supplier to the United States, the world's largest consumer. (Reporting by Ikuko Kao; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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