* Exxon one of the largest operators in Nigeria
* U.S. oil firm says not sure the cause of leak
* Shell, Eni have outages onshore due to floods
By Joe Brock
ABUJA, Nov 10 Exxon has shut a pipeline
off the coast of Nigeria's Akwa Ibom state after an oil leak
started by an unknown cause, the company's local unit said on
The U.S. major's outage will add to production problems in
Africa's biggest crude exporter, after fellow oil majors Shell
and Eni reported recent disruptions at onshore
sites due to Nigeria's worst flooding in 50 years.
"(Exxon Nigeria) confirms that on Nov. 9 an oil release
occurred offshore Akwa Ibom State," Mobil Producing Nigeria, a
joint venture between Exxon and the state oil firm, said in an
"The source of the leak was identified and the pipeline was
isolated and shutdown." The company said it was investigating
the cause of the leak but didn't give any details on the amount
of oil production lost.
There was an oil spill in August near an Exxon facility that
residents said left a slick running for miles along the
coastline of Akwa Ibom. Exxon said it cleared up the spill but
didn't confirm the source of the leak.
Italian oil firm Eni said on Friday it had declared force
majeure on Brass River oil loadings from Nigeria due to floods,
which have submerged part of the southern oil-producing Niger
Delta in recent weeks.
Flooding combined with oil theft, prompted Shell to declare
force majeure on two other large Nigerian oil streams, Bonny
Light and Forcados, in late October.
Oil spills are common in Nigeria's onshore Niger Delta due
to widespread theft by oil gangs tapping into pipelines and the
poor maintenance of some ageing infrastructure.
But offshore spills are less common. Last December, an
accident at Shell's offshore Bonga facility spilled an estimated
40,000 barrels, one of the largest in Nigeria's history.
Nigerian regulators told parliament in July that Shell
should be fined $5 billion for environmental damaged caused by
the spill but the company has said there is no legal basis for