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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chevron Stops Work In Nigeria

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chevron temporarily shut down some operations in Nigeria's offshore waters Friday as the second-largest U.S. oil company scrambled to protect its workers and equipment from rampant violence that threatens to drive up gasoline prices.

The San Ramon-based company's lockup in the Niger Delta came just a few days after gunmen seized four of its U.S. subcontractors from an offshore vessel amid an outbreak of militant attacks that have disrupted Africa's biggest oil-producing country.

"We are working with all appropriate government agencies and community leaders to try and restore peace and stability ... in the area and will resume normal business operations when this occurs," Chevron said in a statement Friday.

Chevron's U.S. workers are particularly vulnerable. Nearly 100 foreigners have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the beginning of the year. Most were released after a ransom was paid.

The company did not specify how many workers were affected by its decision, nor their nationalities.

The temporary suspension of some drilling, logistical support and maintenance work will not immediately affect Chevron's production in the Niger Delta.

Chevron produced an average of 137,000 barrels per day of crude oil from 30 fields in the region during 2006. That accounted for about 5 percent of Chevron's total production last year.

Nigeria's recent turmoil, which included the bombing of key pipelines, already has curtailed production in the oil-rich region by nearly 100,000 bpd and contributed to this week's increase in crude prices.