Shortfall in Nigeria's crude oil output is currently put at about 872,000 barrels per day, owing largely to an increase in the cycle of violence - hostage taking, arson leading to damage of oil production facilities in the Niger Delta, is expected to last for the next six months.

In an effort to attract international attention to the plight of the peoples of the Niger Delta area, an American film maker has set out to produce a documentary depicting the people, the terrain/environment and the neglect, as part of the search for peace in the region.

Crude oil production from the area currently stands at 2.3 to 2.33 million barrels per day, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said, last Wednesday, on the sidelines of an OPEC conference in Vienna.

Responding to a question about the impact of recent attacks on installations on output of the world's sixth largest crude oil, Daukoru said 872,000 barrels per day was currently shut-in.

Six hundred (thousand) of it is from Shell, the rest of it spread between (Italian oil company) Agip and other lesser producers, he said.

The Shell part of it will come back in a big chunk, as soon as they fix an offshore loading platform. The rest is spread over a number of oilfields, that would take a bit more time, Daukoru said. Shell themselves put it at within six months. It could be earlier, it could be later, he added.

Investigations revealed that Chevron still has over 120,000 barrels per day shut in, Elf, a subsidiary of Total Upstream companies, has over 180,000 barrels per day shut in, while Agip is said to have over 80,000 barrels per day shut in.

In a related development, Sandy Ciofi, a Seattle film maker and professor in the Seattle Central Community College's film and video communications department, recently visited the Niger Delta to shoot a documentary on the people of the area.

She had first visited Nigeria in 2005 when she was hired to film construction of a library there.

During that trip, Cioffi learned about the impact of oil on the delta, and of the growing anger of villagers who have no running water or electricity, though the ground beneath their feet produces most of their country's oil riches.

I knew I had to go back to do a piece on the current moment, she said. Tension between the Nigerian federal government and rebels from delta villages has been rising, with local extremists demanding more autonomy and a greater share of oil wealth.

Villagers and rebels accuse the military of crimes, including murder and rape. In response to violence and poverty, rebels began escalating attacks on oil pipelines in January, kidnapping foreign oil workers as well.

The Nigerian government says the military presence is vital to protecting foreign workers and oil production. Rebel attacks at one point cut Nigeria's oil production by 455,000 barrels a day out of a total of 2.5 million barrels, The New York Times reported in February.

Now, Cioffi hopes to influence the ending of her documentary, Sweet Crude.

Along with fellow filmmakers, she sent copies of a peace proposal to parties she interviewed while filming, including oil companies executives and Nigerian federal officials. She said she met with delta rebel leaders in late August and they agreed with her portrayal of their demands.

The proposal calls for drastic changes, asking oil companies and the Nigerian government to renegotiate all contracts and to plan and pay for environmental remediation in the delta.

Cioffi said she contacted several U.S. senators, hoping they would lobby the United Nations to step in to mediate.Can one woman's efforts help bring peace to the region? Cioffi said that's a question she often asks herself.

There are times when I think I'm insane for thinking that I can, she said. The film, funded by Jody Hall, who owns Verite Coffee in Seattle, will be completed next year. Cioffi said she will apply to enter the movie in the Sundance Film Festival and see if HBO would be interested in airing it.