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UPDATE 2-Shell shuts flowstations after fire in south Nigeria

(Adds comment on production)

LAGOS, April 12 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L said on Sunday it had shut down flowstations feeding into its Trans-Niger oil pipeline in southern Nigeria as a precautionary measure after a fire at a manifold.

The Anglo-Dutch giant said it had shut down some production while firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze at the Bomu manifold in Ogoniland, in the restive Niger Delta region.

“We have shut down all flowstations that feed into the pipeline. It is a long stretch of pipeline that conveys production from (Shell’s Nigerian joint venture) SPDC and third parties,” Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo said.

“We have shut in some production as our firefighters do all they can to extinguish the fire,” he said.

The cause of the blaze was not known.

The Trans-Niger pipeline crosses Ogoniland, a region where Shell closed its production operations in 1993 due largely to popular protests over pollution and lack of development.

President Umaru Yar’Adua announced last year that the government would give the oilfields to another company after Shell abandoned them.

Shell said not long afterwards that it would not mount a legal challenge to the plan, but villagers last year staged protests against the company, accusing it of trying to force its way back into the area.

Acts of sabotage against oil pipelines are common across the Niger Delta.

Some are carried out by militants who say they are fighting for a fairer share of the region’s natural wealth, others by thieves who tap into the pipelines to try to siphon off oil.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/)

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