May 20, 2016 - 12:20 AM EDT
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ExxonMobil Denies Shutting Down Production Over Militants Threat

Contrary to reports on Thursday that ExxonMobil, the second biggest international oil company in the Niger Delta, had shut down production and evacuated workers at its Qua Iboe terminal due to threats by militants, the company said normal oil production activities were still on-going.

There were reports that the company had joined Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco), the offshore deepwater subsidiary of Shell Nigeria, to shut down its crude oil terminal and evacuate workers.

But the spokesperson of the American oil company, Oge Udeagha, said in a statement on Thursday that no such incident was reported in the area.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that in the early hours of Thursday May 19, 2016, some unknown persons obstructed access to the bridge leading to our Qua Iboe terminal complex in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom state, thereby preventing our personnel and the public from conducting their legitimate businesses.

"We can also confirm that a peaceful removal of the obstructions is on-going, following the intervention of the officials of the state government, security agencies and community leaders," Mr. Udeagha said.

Mr. Udeagha said MPN criticised the criminality, restating its high regard for the rule of law.

"Production activities are ongoing," the statement said.

Two weeks ago, the company was compelled to temporary shut down its crude oil supply line and declare force majeure following an incident involving a third party facility operating close to the terminal, which threatened one of the crude pipeline.

The force majeure, a legal notice to customers to inform them of some unforeseen circumstances that would make it difficult for the company to meet its scheduled obligation, was declared as a precautionary measure to avert a major damage to the company's pipeline system jointly owned with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The company has since resumed normal production following clearance of the third party facility from the area.

Although Niger Delta militants have recently threatened to attack the facilities of oil companies in the Niger Delta region, following reports of resumed hostilities, ExxonMobil is one of the few major oil companies enjoying a peaceful operational environment in the region.

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Source: News (May 20, 2016 - 12:20 AM EDT)

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