LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Shell Nigeria declares "force majeure" on exports of Bonny Light Crude oil and blames oil thefts that have forced the closure of its major Trans-Niger Pipeline at least five times in three months.
Friday's announcement gives Nigeria's biggest oil exporter legal protection against contractual obligations.
Shell said it has repaired 189 crude theft points this year on the Trans-Niger Pipeline and a major trunkline that carry 300,000 barrels of oil daily.
A statement from managing director Mutiu Sunmonu called the increasing thefts a "dangerous development" that requires more concerted efforts by all parties including the government and communities in the restive Niger Delta.
Experts estimate Nigeria loses about 200,000 barrels a day, or 10 percent of production, with most going to international criminal gangs that sell it on world markets.