ABUJA, Aug 4 (AFP) - Unrest in Nigeria's oil producing region has cut oil production by Royal Dutch/Shell group by 250,000 barrels per day, the Shell country managing director said Friday.
Ron van den Berg, managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation in Nigeria, told industry leaders that a restoration of "law and order" was vital for the oil industry in the country.
Some 165 oil workers on two rigs operated by Shell were seized Monday by youths demanding work. Hopes were high Friday for their imminent release.
"The Niger Delta remains very volatile and the oil and gas operations are exposed to difficult challenges presented by violence and disruptions in the area," Van den Berg said at a ceremony signing a new agreement with the Nigerian government.
"Today the SPDC joint venture has shut in some 250,000 barrels per day across the Delta, several of your staff and contractors, including foreigners, are still held hostage," he said.
"Vandalisation of our joint venture assets continues to rise," he said, adding that a well in the Oroni field in Delta State was "flowing out of control because unknown criminals have broken and carried away" vital equipment.
"Our engineers are battling to control the situation," he said.
The Shell chief said "enforcement of law and order and security in the Delta is an issue vital to the interests of the oil industry and Nigeria."
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