LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Exports of Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream, Qua Iboe, will remain under force majeure for at least one month while operator ExxonMobil repairs a leak on the pipeline feeding the terminal, sources told Reuters.
The damage is the latest setback to Nigerian oil production, which has been hobbled this spring by militant attacks and another accident at the Qua Iboe terminal earlier this year.
Exxon declared force majeure last week, citing a “system anomaly” it observed during a routine check. Sources told Reuters this week that the pipeline lost pressure while loading a cargo of crude oil and that the company subsequently discovered a leak on the underwater pipeline.
An Exxon spokesman declined to comment on any leak or a timeline for repairs.
Sources said that repairs needed to fix the leak, which was on part of the pipeline several miles offshore, were more extensive than initially thought and would not begin this week. The force majeure is likely to remain in place for a minimum of one month, several sources said.
Two of Nigeria’s largest fields are now under force majeure, with Shell-operated Forcados crude oil exports halted since a militant attack on its subsea pipeline in February.
While Exxon said at the time it declared force majeure that the terminal was operating, traders said the company had not yet released a revised loading schedule for July crude exports, an ominous sign for those hoping to purchase or sell the oil.
(Reporting By Libby George and Julia Payne; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and David Goodman)