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At least two 950,000-barrel cargoes of Nigeria’s Forcados crude will ship from the pipeline’s main terminal in May, for the first time since November, according to trading sources who spoke to S&P Global Platts on Friday.
As many as four shipments of nearly one million barrels each could get dispatched this month, following months of repairs on the vital facility.
One of the shipments is rumored to be for Royal Dutch Shell, and another for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. Shell, which operates the Forcados terminal, declined to comment on the shipments, while a representative for the state-run NNPC was not available for comment.
A pair of crude oil tankers arrived at the Forcados terminal last week, waiting to load the grade once enough supplies are ready. Shipping data from Platts predicts the arrival of another tanker, the Suezmax Nave Neutrino, next week.
The Trans Forcados pipeline was the object of several militant attacks last year, which meant that for the most part of 2016, it remained shut down. The first attack that stopped the flow of crude came in February 2016, followed by another in July. Repairs continued until October and the pipeline was restarted, only to be shut down before the month ended, after a bombing from a new militant group that had emerged in the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate.
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This bombing was followed by two more in November, which crippled the pipeline for several months. The renewed violence came at a time when Nigeria was ramping up its crude oil output, with the Forcados terminal, among others, restarting operations after several months of force majeure after earlier attacks.
The force majeure on the terminal remains in place but the Trans Forcados pipeline may be restarted by week’s end.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…