Oil prices were on the rise across the international market as ExxonMobil announced the suspension of exports from the Qua Ibo crude oil terminal on Friday.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 50 cents on Friday to trade at $46.07 per barrel, while Brent crude surged from $45.68 on Thursday to $47.79 on Friday afternoon.
ExxonMobil, a subsidiary Mobil Producing Nigeria declared force majeure – a legal clause that allows it to stop shipments without breaching contracts – on exports from Nigeria’s largest export stream.
Todd Spitler, the firm’s spokesman, said the decision to declare force majeure was due to “a system anomaly observed during a routine check of its loading facility”.
He suggested that the declaration was in no connection to militant attack in the Niger Delta region, with no definite date of returning to normal activities.
“We are working to ensure loading activities at the facility return to normal. We cannot speculate on any timeline for repairs,” Reuters quoted Spitler to have said.
Though the clause will take its effect on exports, the spokesman said “Qua Iboe terminal is operating and production activities continue”.
In May, ExxonMobil also acknowledged disruption in its export activities along the same terminal, declaring force majeure at the time.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria, 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,” the company said in May.
“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. Production activities are ongoing.”
Nigeria’s oil export have been dwindling between a million barrels and 1.5 million barrels since February, 2016, following the resurgence of militant activities.