Royal Dutch Shell Plc has suspended crude shipments from Nigeria’s Forcados export facility, inflicting yet another setback on the country, which has been struggling to reverse plummeting output.
Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria Ltd. has issued a notice of force majeure on Forcados shipments, which will take effect at 12 p.m. local time on Dec. 21, and will issue a revised offtake program in due course.
The port generally handles over 200,000 barrels of Nigerian oil per day.
Shell announced a month ago that flows from the adjacent Bonny plant will be restored. Force majeure is a provision that permits businesses to skip out on contractual commitments due to events beyond their control.
According to two West African crude dealers, the current suspension adds to Nigeria’s longstanding dependability difficulties, which have impeded the country’s shipments in recent months.
According to the traders, some refiners have been hesitant to acquire Nigerian crude owing to the uncertainty of when cargoes would arrive at their processing plants, particularly smaller refiners with limited flexibility to switch crude slates on short notice.
The shutdown happened during the replacement of one of the two single point moorings at Forcados, with a jack-up barge blocking tanker access, export operations, and the return of full production into the terminal, according to a notification from Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
Neither NNPC nor Shell provided an estimate on how long the shutdown will last.
According to a port agency report reviewed by Bloomberg, the force majeure is expected to last long enough to disrupt four remaining cargoes planned to be loaded this month.
Only one ship has loaded cargo from the Bonny facility since Shell issued the month-long force majeure in October.