U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil has suspended exports from Nigeria’s top crude stream, adding to economic strains from unrest and violence that have cut production to its lowest in decades.

Exxon Mobil confirmed on Friday that it had declared a force majeure — a suspension of deliveries because of events beyond its control — on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil grade, and that a portion of production had been curtailed.

The producer said on Thursday it had reduced output after a drilling rig damaged a pipeline.

Brent crude has surged to $47 per barrel from $27 in January, in part because of production problems in Africa’s former largest producer as well as a decline in U.S. output.

Oil prices have jumped around 20 percent so far this quarter, their biggest such rise since 2011.

Exxon Mobil declared a force majeure on the country’s largest export grade Qua Iboe, traders said on Friday.

The outage adds to production problems at two of the other largest crude streams, Bonny Light and Forcados, which have already taken Nigeria’s output to a 22-year low.

A Geneva-based trader said that output of Qua Iboe had stopped completely and that it was unclear when it would re-start.


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