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Shell declares force majeure on Nigerian Forcados crude loadings

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Platts Global Alert - Oil

Shell declares force majeure on Nigerian Forcados crude loadings

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Loadings have averaged 200,000 b/d in recent months

Nigerian crude output suffering from operational, technical issues

Loadings of Nigeria's key crude grade Forcados are on force majeure due to some operational issues at the export terminal, Shell said Aug. 16.

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Force majeure was declared effective Aug. 13 due to "the curtailment of production and suspension of export operations as a result of some sheen noticed on the water around the loading buoy," Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. said in a statement.

Forcados is a gasoil-rich sweet crude blend and is one of Nigeria's top export grades. Output has averaged around 200,000 b/d over recent months compared to its full capacity of 250,000 b/d.

Nigeria oil output has been hampered by operational and technical problems in the past few months.

Key crudes such as Bonny Light, Escravos, Forcados, Qua Iboe have all faced production issues due to operational and technical reasons.

Forcados, which relies heavily on oil pipelines, has also faced persistent sabotage in the past few months.

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Nigeria to be one of the largest risks for OPEC+ production growth in end-2021.

"We forecast August crude supply to average 1.36 million b/d down from 1.48 million b/d in July and 1.66 million b/d as recently as February," it said in a recent note.

"Our outlook for growth to 1.75 million b/d by December faces notable uncertainty, even without rising risks of coordinated attacks on oil infrastructure."

Growing threats by militants to renew attacks on oil infrastructure in the restive Niger Delta also pose a huge concern for Africa's largest oil producer.

Nigeria has the capacity to produce around 2.2 million-2.3 million b/d of crude and condensate, but production has averaged only around 1.62 million b/d in the first seven months of 2021, according to Platts estimates.