UPDATE 1-Exxon declares force majeure on Nigeria Qua Iboe oil

Thu Feb 7, 2013 2:17pm EST

ABUJA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil on Thursday
declared force majeure on Nigeria's benchmark Qua Iboe crude oil
exports due to pipeline repair work, the company's local unit
said, cutting output from Africa's top producer.
    Nigeria is among the world's top 10 crude exporters and
usually ships around 2 million barrels per day, supplying the
United States, China and India with its light oil.
    Qua Iboe is Nigeria's largest crude oil stream with exports,
before this announcement, expected to be around 400,000 bpd in
February, according to shipping schedules.
    At least three cargoes due to be shipped in February have
already been pushed back to March, traders said last month.
 
    "We are working to minimize down-time and have notified
appropriate regulatory agencies and purchasers. We regret any
inconveniences this may cause our customers," a statement from
Mobil Nigeria said.
    Exxon only lifted a three-week long force majeure on Qua
Iboe on December 10 last year, which was put in place due to
outages caused by flooding and oil spills.
    Fellow oil majors Shell, Total and Eni
 declared force majeure on Nigerian oil and gas exports
late last year as oil theft and flooding caused serious outages.
 
    Oil theft is a major problem in the winding creeks and
waterways of the Niger Delta, where it is easy to conceal boats
and illegal refineries in the dense mangroves. Nigeria estimates
around 150,000 bpd is stolen, much of which is sold abroad.
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