US rejects Ford petition to delay recall of 3m vehicles

The vehicles in question include the 2007-11 Ford Ranger and other models. (Reuters)
Updated 19 November 2017
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US rejects Ford petition to delay recall of 3m vehicles

WASHINGTON: The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday it was rejecting a petition by Ford Motor Co. to delay recalling about 3 million vehicles with potentially defective air bag inflators to conduct additional testing.
The agency said it did not find the request by the second largest US automaker “reasonable under the circumstances or supported by the testing and data it has collected to date.”
Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. At least 18 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide have been tied to the defect that led Takata Corp. to file for bankruptcy protection in June and prompted at least 19 automakers to issue recalls.
NHTSA also rejected a similar petition filed by Mazda Motor Co. covering about 6,000 vehicles. Mazda said in a statement it “takes our customers’ safety as a single-minded top priority and continues to work hand-in-hand with NHTSA.”
The public can comment on NHTSA’s decision until Dec. 18 on both Ford and Mazda’s petitions. Mazda said it would “provide further information once NHTSA issues its final determination.”
Ford did not immediately say if it planned to challenge the agency’s decision. “We will cooperate with the agency, as we always do,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said in an email. The vehicles in question include the 2007-11 Ford Ranger, 2006-12 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, 2006-11 Mercury Milan, and 2007-10 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.
In July, NHTSA said new testing prompted Takata to declare inflators defective in Ford, Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda vehicles in some driver-side air bags. Nissan agreed to a recall of 515,000 vehicles.
NHTSA agreed in 2016 to a request by General Motors Co. to delay a recall of 2.5 million vehicles with Takata air bag inflators as the Detroit automaker conducts additional testing to determine if the vehicles need replacement inflators.
Separately, a report issued on Friday by an independent monitor of the Takata recalls said more than 10 million US vehicles and 18.5 million faulty Takata air bag inflators remain unrepaired in the largest ever auto recall.
Takata has said it expects to have recalled 125 million vehicles worldwide by 2019.
The report said 43.1 million Takata airbag inflators were under recall in 31.5 million vehicles today, with scheduled expansion to about 65 million inflators by the end of 2018. Of those, 24.6 million inflators in 20 million vehicles have been repaired.
In 2019, another 4.1 million vehicles will be recalled to replace interim inflators.
— REUTERS


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.