Militants attack Chevron oil facility in Niger delta

2016-05-26 21:07
A Nigerian youth looks at smoke from gas flare belonging to an oil company in Ebocha, Nigeria. (AP)

A Nigerian youth looks at smoke from gas flare belonging to an oil company in Ebocha, Nigeria. (AP)

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Lagos - A militant group has attacked a Chevron installation in the Niger delta, a maritime expert confirmed Thursday, the latest damage to Nigeria's oil infrastructure that is dragging output to 20-year lows.

Militant group Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) appeared to claim the attack late Wednesday in a statement on a Twitter account bearing their name that said it had blown up the main electricity feed pipeline at the Escravos oil terminal.

The NDA, the most high-profile group to emerge recently in the increasingly volatile Niger delta, has launched a series of attacks in recent months that have choked output from oil giants Chevron, Shell and ENI and helped push up global crude prices.

The attack would "reduce Chevron's capability to export crude oil via Escravos," Dirk Steffen, from the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm, told AFP.

"The main threat posed by this development is the severely reduced oil output, which puts further pressure on the financially constrained ... government," Steffen added.

Chevron declined to comment on the attack.

Earlier this month, NDA claimed another attack on Chevron, saying they had damaged a valve platform and later warning the company not to fix the broken infrastructure.

Force majeure

The NDA also claimed responsibility for attacking Shell's Forcados underwater pipeline in February, while earlier this week Eni declared a force majeure following an attack on its Brass Rivers terminal.

"These incidents have raised fears of a renewed insurgency in the southern region," PGI Intelligence, a London-based security analysis company, said in a May 24 report.

"Pipeline attacks are likely to continue at their current frequency in at least the short to medium term, and the security situation could deteriorate further if a government crackdown on suspected militants provokes a broader backlash."

Nigerian junior oil minister Emmanuel Kachikwu recently said oil production had fallen from 2.2 million barrels per day to 1.4 million barrels per day - the lowest level since the 1990s.

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to restore stability to Nigeria's south, whose oil exports account for 70% of government revenue.

However, there are fears a heavy-handed response will drive others to join the militants, who are demanding a greater share of oil wealth for the impoverished region.

Read more on:    shell  |  chevron  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  oil

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