By Ebi Perekeme
Loadings of Nigeria’s key export grade Forcados are on force majeure due to the shutdown of the Trans Forcados pipeline, terminal operator Shell said late January 14.
The force majeure took effect from 1000 local time (0900 GMT) on January 14, a Shell spokesperson said.
A representative at Heritage said the Trans Forcados pipeline had initially shut down for “maintenance services” but “community disturbances” had disrupted the exercise.
The pipeline therefore remained shut for longer than scheduled, leading to Shell declaring force majeure, the source said.
Forcados is a gasoil-rich sweet crude blend and is one of Nigeria’s top export grades. Output has averaged around 250,000 b/d over recent months.
Nigerian oil output has fallen sharply in the past six months as it has come under pressure to adhere to its OPEC+ cut obligations.
Some of the country’s key grades have had faced outages.
Exports of Qua Iboe are also currently on force majeure due to production issues triggered by a fire at the Qua Iboe terminal in mid-December.
Exports of Brass River were on force majeure from late November to mid-December after a sabotage attack on an oil and gas pipeline.
Nigeria’s crude and condensate production slumped to around 1.66 million b/d in 2020 from 2.04 million b/d in 2019, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.
This was its lowest annual output figure since 2016 when militancy in the Niger Delta pushed output to as low as 1.60million b/d.
Last week, a coalition of former oil rebels in the Niger Delta, now known as the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, threatened to resume attacks on oil installations in the country’s main oil producing region.
A presidential amnesty program for militants to maintain peace in the Niger Delta remains in place but there are concerns that militancy might be picking up again.