Nigeria LNG resumes normal operations, lifts force majeure on exports
IBADAN -- Nigeria LNG said Friday it has lifted the force majeure on its liquefied natural gas exports, two weeks after Nigeria's maritime regulator lifted a blockade of the company's operations amid a tax dispute.
Nigeria LNG declared the force majeure, effective June 28, after a blockade by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, or NIMASA, prevented LNG tankers from accessing the company's loading terminal on Bonny Island in the Niger Delta region. The blockade was the result of a long-running dispute over the payment of duties on freight and exports.
"As at today (Friday), the 6-Train NLNG Bonny Complex finally reached its normal operating capacity such that export operations can be declared as being fully normalized. Consequently, the company has declared the current force majeure lifted to both buyers and gas suppliers," Kudo Eresia-Eke, Nigeria LNG spokeswoman, said in a statement Friday.
The blockade, imposed on June 21, was lifted earlier this month after Nigeria LNG was ordered by the government to pay about $159 million to settle levies allegedly owed to NIMASA from October 2009 to May 2013, and to continue paying the levies going forward. Nigeria LNG said it made the payment "under protest."
Ms. Eresia-Eke said the company has filed a suit at a Federal High Court contesting the legality of the government's directive as well as NIMASA's claims.
Nigeria LNG is a joint venture between Nigeria's state oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, France's Total and Italy's Eni.
A force majeure is declared when a company is unable to fulfill its contractual obligations to deliver exports due to circumstances beyond its control.