UPDATE 1-Exxon lifts force majeure on Nigerian Qua Iboe crude

Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:17pm EST

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NEW YORK Feb 22 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp has lifted a force majeure on the Nigerian Qua Iboe crude stream put in place on Feb. 7, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The company said that pipeline work had prompted the declaration.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC)/MPN Joint Venture today confirms that it has lifted the Force Majeure it declared on February 7, 2013," the company said in a statement.

"We express gratitude to all customers, purchasers and Joint Venture partner, the NNPC for their understanding during the temporary disruption in supply," it said.

Earlier on Friday, trade sources said exports of the key benchmark grade will be down by nearly 40 percent in April as the force majeure had cut oil flows from Africa's top producer.

The country will export around 222,000 barrels per day of Qua Iboe in April, trade sources said, down from a planned 368,000 bpd in March.

A trade source said that around four Qua Iboe cargoes from March had been deferred to April and that delays were between four and 12 days.

The OPEC member suffered major outages late last year due to rampant oil theft and the worst floods Nigeria had seen in 50 years.

Nigeria typically produces around 2 million to 2.4 million bpd, and its oil is sold to customers in the United States and Asia. (Reporting by Matthew Robinson and David Sheppard in New York, Emma Farge in Geneva; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Gunna Dickson)

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