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Shell warns on Nigerian exports after pipeline shutdown
by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) Oct 11, 2013


Russian court rules to keep more Greenpeace activists in jail
Moscow (AFP) Oct 11, 2013 - A Russian court on Friday rejected the bail requests of two British nationals remanded in custody along with the 28 other crew members of a Greenpeace ship that protested Arctic oil drilling.

A regional court in the northern city of Murmansk turned down the appeal to release a freelance British video journalist Kieron Bryan and Greenpeace activist Phil Ball, who is also from Britain, the environmental group said.

Investigators have placed all 30 Greenpeace crew members from 18 countries in pre-trial detention for two months until late November and charged all 30 of them with piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years.

On Wednesday, investigators said that "narcotic substances" had been found on the ship and several more activists would face new charges.

Earlier this week the court turned down the appeal to release four crew members including freelance Russian journalist Denis Sinyakov.

Greenpeace's International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for a meeting and offering himself "as security" to have the activists released on bail.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Putin had heard of Naidoo's letter but had not received it yet, and stressed that the president could not intervene in investigations.

"He knows about it but since we haven't seen the letter yet, we can't talk about anything," Peskov was cited as saying by Interfax news agency.

Putin "can hardly be dragged into any discussion of the activities of the investigation", he added.

In an interview with AFP, Naidoo said he was "extremely surprised" by Russia's response to a Greenpeace attempt to scale a state oil rig last month.

Shell warned on Friday it may not meet production targets for crude exports in Nigeria after it shut down a major pipeline repeatedly hit by sabotage and theft.

"Force majeure has been declared on Bonny Light exports ... due to production deferment from leaks observed on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP)," in Nigeria's Ogoniland region, the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant (SPDC) said in a statement.

Force majeure is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control. Bonny Light is one of the main grades of crude produced in Nigeria.

"SPDC and members of the community discovered that the spill at B-Dere was caused by unknown persons who drilled holes on the line," it said.

The TNP was shut down on Wednesday owing to leaks, reducing crude production by 150,000 barrels per day.

The pipeline had been repaired just two weeks earlier after what Shell described as a separate incident of sabotage.

Shell said the pipeline has been closed down in similar circumstances at least five times since early July.

"We're dealing with a social tragedy, an environmental crisis and a sad waste of resources," SPDC boss Mutiu Sunmonu said.

"We find it difficult to safely operate our pipelines without having to shut them frequently to prevent leaks from illegal connections impacting the environment," he said.

Shell and other oil majors operating in the Niger Delta have repeatedly decried the scourge of oil theft and infrastructure sabotage, which has been estimated to cost Nigeria at least $6 billion (4.6 billion euros) per year in lost revenue.

In August, the Shell partly blamed such criminality in the Niger Delta for the company's "disappointing" second-quarter global profits.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, exporting around 2.0 million barrels per day.

A 2009 amnesty deal with oil rebels led to a sharp decline in unrest, but criminal activity has since flourished.

While Shell blames most of the spills on sabotage, activists argue that the company does not do enough to prevent such incidents or effectively clean up the damage when they do occur.

Because of massive corruption, Nigerians have largely not benefitted from the country's oil wealth and some in the delta have justified crude theft as a means to funnel resources to the community.

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ENERGY TECH
Russian court rules to keep more Greenpeace activists in jail
Moscow (AFP) Oct 11, 2013
A Russian court on Friday rejected the bail requests of two British nationals remanded in custody along with the 28 other crew members of a Greenpeace ship that protested Arctic oil drilling. A regional court in the northern city of Murmansk turned down the appeal to release a freelance British video journalist Kieron Bryan and Greenpeace activist Phil Ball, who is also from Britain, the env ... read more


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