Friday, August 13, 2010

ExxonMobil resumes oil shipments after Nigeria spill

LAGOS — US oil giant ExxonMobil said Wednesday it had resumed oil deliveries from Nigeria after cleaning up a spill from an offshore platform in the country's oil-rich south.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN joint venture) today confirms that it has lifted the force majeure it declared on May 12, 2010," the company said in a statement.

The US company declared the force majeure -- a legal clause allowing producers to miss contracted deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control -- following a leak on a key pipeline in southern Akwa Ibom State on May 1.

"We express gratitude to all customers, purchasers and joint venture partner, the NNPC, for their understanding during the production outage," the statement said.

Environment Minister John Odey met with with ExxonMobil top management in in June and ordered the company to clean the spill.

"ExxonMobil needs to show more caution in terms of the management of oil spills," Odey had told reporters after the meeting.

"We are concerned about the operation of ExxonMobil because once it is offshore, any spillage will, of course, affect the shorelines and it could go far beyond the area of operation," he added.

ExxonMobil is Nigeria's major oil operators, often accused by militant groups and rights campaigners of causing environmental degradation and destruction of the local communities' ecosystem.

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