- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

LAGOS, Nigeria (Agence France-Presse) — U.S. oil giant ChevronTexaco’s daily output in Nigeria is still down 140,000 barrels per day more than half a year after violent unrest forced it out of the western Niger Delta, a spokesman said yesterday.

“For over seven months now, we have shut our operations from the swamps of the western Niger Delta as a result of ethnic unrest,” spokesman Sola Omole told reporters here.”In the process, we are losing 140,000 barrels per day.”

He said Chevron, with a daily output of 350,000 barrels, was in no hurry to return to the area because of safety concerns.

“Our main concerns are the security and safety of our staff and facilities. We are still monitoring the situation to ensure that all is well before we return,” he added.

Chevron — along with Anglo-Dutch giant Shell and France’s Total — shut down its operations in March in the swamps near the southern oil city of Warri amid violence among pirates, security forces and rival ethnic groups.

The hostilities forced Africa’s largest oil exporter to cut its daily exports of 2 million barrels by more than a third, sending tremors through oil markets.

Much of that shortfall has since been made up by increasing production and exports elsewhere, but in the western delta swamps, oil facilities along the ethnic fault line still lie abandoned as sporadic fighting continues.

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