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Niger Delta stability in the balance, as Forcados oil exports resume

THE RESUMPTION of exports from Shell's Forcados oil terminal reflects an improved security situation in the Niger Delta following last year's militant amnesty. But doubts over the region's long-term stability threaten to jeopardise badly needed investment

Shell said last month that it had restored output at the 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) Forcados terminal, in Bayelsa state, which had been shut-in because of attacks by armed militants. Mutiu Sunmonu, head of Shell companies in Nigeria, told Bloomberg in mid-June that the company was beginning to see an upward swing in its Nigerian production as a result of "peace returning to the delta". He did not provide figures. Many foreign firms have withdrawn all but essential staff from the region as violence intensified in recent years. But the number of attacks on oil and gas installations has fallen sharply since an amnesty in 2009, designed to bring former militants into the political mainstream a

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