The resumption of the pipeline, which typically exports 200,000-240,000 barrels per day (bpd), bringing Nigeria to around the 1.8 million-bpd level, is also said to have reinstated Nigeria as largest export grade, after Angola.
Nigeria’s oil production has surpassed that of Angola, the latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has shown (OPEC). Nigeria recorded the biggest increase in output among its peers in the OPEC last month.
Production from Angola stood at 1.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) in May, down from the 1.7mbpd it closed.
A force majeure, such as was declared on the Forcados pipeline, is a legal declaration that means the operator cannot fulfill a contract due to circumstances outside its control.
According to Bloomberg on Wednesday, the country is adding an unspecified number of barrels to the market just as other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are trying to remove them in a bid to bolster prices.
“Royal Dutch Shell Plc. lifted restrictions on exports of a key Nigerian crude oil, 472 days after imposing those following militant attacks. The extra flows alone amount to about 20 percent of the supply OPEC has pledged to cut from world markets.
“Europe’s biggest oil company ended a force majeure of Forcados crude oil shipments and the measure, which allows companies to miss contractual obligations, was imposed on Feb. 21 last year. Shipments this month will average about 250,000 barrels a day,” Bloomberg said
The oil producer club, OPEC, said on May 25 that it will keep its collective output restricted by 1.2 million barrels a day until the end of the first quarter 2018. Nigeria and Libya, whose output has been disrupted by unrest and other factors, were both exempted from the curbs.
Forcados had been under force majeure since February 2016 after a militant attack on the main export route, the Trans Forcados Pipeline. Shell’s Nigerian unit announced the force majeure after the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group, attacked the subsea export line.
The NDA claimed another attack on the pipeline in June 2016, and then again in early November, part of a spate of sabotage that pushed Nigeria’s production to the lowest in almost three decades last year and cost it losing billions of dollars.