* Delays to Qua Iboe exports grow after Exxon oil spill
* Shell lifts force majeure on gas supply to LNG plant
* Oil theft and floods have cut Nigerian oil, gas output
By Joe Brock and Emma Farge
ABUJA/GENEVA, Nov 16 Nigerian crude oil export
delays have lengthened, traders said on Friday, a sign that a
raft of recent output problems caused by oil theft and flooding
are increasingly holding back supplies from Africa's biggest
Nigerian authorities said last month major oil theft
incidents and the country's worst floods in 50 years caused oil
output to drop by a fifth, but days later said things were back
Since then, fresh oil spills and warnings by foreign oil
companies suggest Nigeria's 2 million barrel per day (bpd) crude
export business is suffering acutely from the outages.
Exports of Nigeria's top crude stream and benchmark Qua Iboe
are delayed by 12 days compared with seven to nine a week ago,
traders said. U.S. oil major ExxonMobil shut a pipeline
that feeds Qua Iboe exports on Nov. 9 due to a leak.
Shell still has in place a force majeure on
Forcados and Bonny Light crude oil grades after a tanker being
used to steal oil set ablaze on Sept. 30, spreading fire across
several oil and gas installations.
In a separate incident Shell shut down its Imo River oil
pipeline on Oct. 31 due to damage caused by thieves and deferred
25,000 bpd of oil production.
Italy's Eni said last week it had declared force
majeure on the Brass River oil due to flooding and since then
loading delays have lengthened to around 15 days, traders said.
France's Total has restarted oil and gas
production from its 90,000 barrel per day OML 58 block of which
it holds a 40 percent stake and which was shut a month ago due
to severe flooding.
Total still has a force majeure in place on its gas supplies
to Nigeria's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) company. However, gas
supplies to the Nigeria LNG are recovering.
Shell said on Friday it had lifted its force majeure on gas
supply to Nigeria LNG, a six-train plant with a capacity of 22
million tonnes a year, around 9 percent of global supply. A
force majeure on exports from the plant remains in place.
Force majeure frees a company from meeting contractual
obligations due to circumstances out of its control.
Oil theft is a major problem in the Niger Delta wetlands
region in southern Nigeria, where the majority of its oil is
produced. The thousands of kilometres of winding waterways and
creeks are difficult to police, although there is also evidence
that security officials have been complicit in theft.
Nigeria LNG stakeholders are state-run energy firm NNPC with
49 percent, Shell (25.6 percent), Total (15 percent), and Eni