Oil and Gas

UPDATE 3-Shell resumes oil output at Nigeria EA field

* Traders estimate EA exports at 60,000-65,000 bpd in Aug

* Rebel group threatens further attacks despite ceasefire

* MEND says will release foreign hostages in 24 hours (Updates with MEND threat, possible hostage release)

ABUJA, July 21 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L said on Tuesday it has resumed oil output at its EA oilfield in Nigeria, a rare bright spot for an industry battered by a string of militant attacks in the last two months.

But hours after Shell’s announcement, Nigeria’s main militant group repeated its threat to revisit oil facilities that are repaired from previous attacks.

A Shell spokesman said offshore production resumed at its 115,000 barrel per day oilfield after being idle for three years because of security concerns.

“EA resumed production about three weeks ago and is slowly ramping up,” said a Shell spokesman. He declined to say how much the field was currently producing.

Traders said EA oil shipments were estimated between 60,000 bpd and 65,000 bpd for August.

The EA platform, which was shut in early 2006, was one of the first targets of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

Since then, MEND has devastated the OPEC member’s oil industry and has kept Nigeria from pumping above two-thirds of its installed capacity, costing it billions of dollars in lost revenue.

The militant group, which says it is fighting for a fairer share of the Niger Delta’s wealth, declared a 60-day ceasefire in its offensive last week to provide a chance for peace talks with the government. [ID:nLF297380]

But it has also threatened oil companies that if it tries to repair damaged pipelines, flow stations and other facilities that rebels will attack them again.

“We wish to make it clear however that the pipelines and facilities that were destroyed ... will be revisited if they are repaired during this time,” MEND said in a statement late Tuesday.

MEND attacks have forced Shell, U.S. oil major Chevron CVX.N and Italy's Agip ENI.MI to cut around 300,000 bpd in the last two months and has helped support global oil prices.

The militant group also said it would release within 24 hours six foreign workers kidnapped on July 5 after their chemical tanker was hijacked off the coast of Escravos in the Niger Delta.

Three of the hostages were from Russia, two from the Philippines and one from India. [ID:nL627910] (Additional reporting by Joe Brock in London;Editing by Christian Wiessner)