Shell resumes crude exports from Nigeria’s Forcados terminal, first since July
Exports of Nigerian crude grade Forcados have restarted after a three-month pause, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd., or SPDC, said Oct. 21.
“SPDC can confirm that essential repairs at Forcados Oil Terminal are complete and export operations have resumed on Oct. 20,” the statement said.
SPDC halted operations at the Forcados oil fields due to damage at the loading facilities. Oil flows into the Forcados oil terminal were suspended on July 17 following a leakage discovered in the mooring line supporting the terminal.
The Forcados oil export facilities are often targets of thieves who illegally tap into them to siphon crude.
The Suezmax SFL Ottawa loaded a 950,000-barrel cargo and left the Forcados terminal late on Oct. 20, according to data from Platts cFlow ship and commodity tracking software from S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Another tanker, the Neptune Moon, is en route to the Forcados terminal, and will load a cargo on Oct. 25, Platts cFlow data showed. Tyche 1 was the last tanker to have loaded from Forcados, leaving the terminal on July 9.
SPDC had previously said testing and exports were likely to commence toward the end of October.
November loadings of Nigeria’s Forcados crude are estimated to average 178,333 b/d, or 5.35 million barrels, according to a copy of the program seen by S&P Global. Forcados loadings normally average as high as 250,000 b/d.
Nigeria’s Forcados grade of crude, which is medium and sweet, is highly sought after by European refiners.
Forcados has a gravity of 31.5 API, a sulfur content of 0.22%, and is known in the market for yielding a large percentage of gasoil and distillates.
Nigerian oil production has been plagued by outages related to theft, pipeline sabotage, unplanned maintenance, and technical issues since early 2021, along with insecurity in the Niger Delta.
Oil and natural gas theft has increased sharply in recent months, dragging crude output to multidecade lows. Nigeria is losing around 600,000 b/d of oil production to theft, according to government estimates. This comes as Nigerian oil production has been languishing at multidecade lows.
Total crude and condensate production fell to 1,137,216 b/d in September from 1,179,522 b/d in August, data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission showed. This was the lowest level in more than four decades, and pushed Nigeria off the pedestal as Africa’s largest oil producer.