Nigeria is losing about N2.79 billion daily following the closure of ExxonMobil operated Qua Iboe terminal, whose workers were evacuated yesterday.
Qua Iboe is Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream and exports usually more than 300,000 barrels per day.
At the current oil price of $47 per barrel, the country is bound to lose billions of Naira daily. A market source said the evacuation was caused by the threat from militants and that tanks had been emptied of crude.
Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, the management of Exxon Mobil, yesterday said production was ongoing at Qua Iboe crude oil terminal, despite criminal activity that obstructed staff access to a bridge leading to the terminal in the early hours of yesterday.
Exxon Mobil cut Qua Iboe production and declared force majeure on exports last Friday, after a drilling rig, experiencing mechanical difficulties, damaged the pipeline it jointly owns with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Production was ramped up again earlier this week.
The business plan of the country to export about 800,000 barrels per day Bonny Light and Qua Iboe grade in May and June have already been hampered. This is the third time facilities of international oil companies would be attacked by the Niger Delta militants in three months.
Earlier last week, Chevron Nigeria Limited’s Okan offshore facility was shut-in. Nigerian Navy spokesperson, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, who also confirmed the incident, said the attack occurred about 40 nautical miles from the Escravos terminal, around Warri in Delta State.
A group known as the Niger Delta Avengers had claimed responsibility for the attack. The same group said it carried out an attack on a Shell Oil pipeline in February which shut down the 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal.
Also last Saturday, Shell evacuated 98 key personnel on board by helicopters from Eja OML 79, where production of 90,000 barrels of oil per day has been halted.
Sources said a small group of staff has been left on the platform to carry out skeletal operations.
The staff and facility are offered protection by two gunboats belonging to the military Joint Taskforce of the Federal Government. Close to Eja 79 is the Bonga Field, which has a larger production capacity and is operated by another Shell subsidiary, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO).