Nigerian militants blow up Shell oil export pipeline — again

WARRI, Nigeria — Nigerian militants say they have again blown up an oil pipeline carrying crude for export from Shell’s Forcados terminal in the country’s south. It’s the third attack in eight days on the Trans Forcados pipeline network.

The first came just hours after President Muhammadu Buhari held inconclusive talks with stakeholders aimed at halting the sabotage. Militants and community leaders want development and a bigger share of revenues from oil that has massively polluted the southern Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta Avengers said Tuesday night’s bombing is to reinforce warnings for oil companies to desist from repairing attacked installations. Nearby residents confirmed hearing a large explosion. Oil companies don’t comment on the attacks.

In July, militants blew up the pipeline from the 400,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal of Dutch-British multinational Shell.

Nigerian oil export pipeline attacked – crude oil production already near a 30-year low

A militant group in Nigeria said it attacked one of the country's main oil export arteries at a time when output is already near a 30-year low. File Photo by tcly/Shutterstock
A militant group in Nigeria said it attacked one of the country’s main oil export arteries at a time when output is already near a 30-year low. File Photo by tcly/Shutterstock

ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 26 (UPI) — A militant group in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria said it was answering statements from Abuja on mediation by bombing a main oil export pipeline.

A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers said it hit an oil export pipeline carrying Nigeria’s benchmark grade Bonny Light. The group said the action, ending a brief summer truce, is in response to what it said was the “over-dramatization” of the issue by the Nigerian government.

“The world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state; while we were promised that the concerns of Niger Delta will be addresses once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and her agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough,” the group said in a statement.

The group emerged earlier this year and was one of the more active militant groups waging war on energy interests in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The NDA accuses the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil and gas interests over the interests of the people in the Niger Delta and its campaign has been blamed for pushing total Nigerian crude oil production to a 30-year low this year.

The International Monetary Fund said the downturn in the Nigerian economy was a primary contributor to contraction in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding the situation in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy, was particularly difficult.

One key reason for the Nigerian woes, IMF economists said, was the disruption to oil operations in the Niger Delta.

Slipping into a formal recession in late August, the Nigerian government said the contribution of oil to economic growth slipped slightly more than 2 percent.

The government’s Bureau of Statistics said the economy, measured by gross domestic product, declined 2.06 percent year-on-year, lower by 1.7 percentage points from the previous quarter and 4.4 percent lower from the same time in 2015.

The militant group said it was still in favor of dialogue.

Niger Delta Avengers break truce with pipeline blast


Warri (Nigeria) (AFP) – The Niger Delta Avengers on Saturday claimed responsibility for the destruction of a major oil pipeline in southern Nigeria, breaking a ceasefire the militant group had declared a month ago.

In a statement, NDA spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo said the group attacked the Bonny pipeline in Rivers State on Friday as “a wake up call”, expressing frustration with the negotiations the militants have been holding with authorities.

Agbinibo said the NDA was “still in favour of the dialogue” but accused the government of creating “shameful scenes obtainable in Nollywood acts”, a reference to Nigeria’s huge film industry, accusing authorities of intimidation and blackmail.

“There has been no progress and no breakthrough,” he said.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), which operates the pipeline, said the damage was being investigated.

“I can’t categorically tell you if it was an attack,” a company source told AFP, adding that a statement would be issued following an investigation.

The NDA, active in the restive Niger Delta since the start of the year, announced on August 19 that it was laying down its weapons and resuming talks with the government.

Targeting oil giants including Shell, Exxon and Chevron, it had hammered the Nigerian economy with months of attacks on vital oil and gas infrastructure, reducing output by a third at a time when global prices are already punishingly low.

The NDA is seeking a fairer distribution of the oil revenues that make up 70 percent of state’s income and has vowed to fight for development in the Delta where many people remain desperately poor despite the huge wealth of local natural resources.

A week before the ceasefire announcement, the NDA threatened to unilaterally declare independence from Nigeria.

In August the army launched “Operation Crocodile Smile” in the oil hub of Warri in a bid to re-take control of the region from a proliferation of militant groups.

As well as large-scale sabotage, the army is also battling illegal refinery operations and frequent kidnappings.

Nigerian army spokesman Sani Usman said Saturday that suspected militants on speed boats had launched a deadly attack against troops at Efut Esighi in Cross River State.

“A soldier was killed in action while two soldiers were missing in action,” Usman said, attributing the attack to a group close to the NDA, the Bakassi Strike Force.

Two militants were killed as troops struck back, the army said.

Nigerian oil production has sunk from 2.1 million barrels a day in the first quarter to 1.7 million barrels in the face of repeated militant attacks.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s cut Nigeria’s credit worthiness last week, saying the drop in production and a restrictive foreign exchange regime were hurting the country’s prospects.

Niger Delta Avengers say ‘hostilities ceased’ against Nigerian government

The Nigerian military parades weapons and some suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers after their arrest in the Nembe waters, Rivers state, on August 22. The Avengers claim to have ceased hostilities against oil companies and the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian military parades weapons and some suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers after their arrest in the Nembe waters, Rivers state, on August 22. The Avengers claim to have ceased hostilities against oil companies and the Nigerian government.

During a visit to Kenya over the weekend, President Buhari said that the federal government was open to discussions helping resolve the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, which accounts for the majority of Nigeria’s oil production. But Buhari said he was doubtful that the militants had announced a ceasefire, according to his spokesman Garba Shehu, who stated. “We are trying to understand them more, who are their leaders and which areas do they operate [in] and other relevant issues.”

The Nigerian president is also reported to have threatened militant groups in the Delta that they will be dealt with in the same manner as Boko Haram if they refuse a dialogue with the government, according to Nigeria’s Premium Times. Nigeria and neighboring countries in West Africa have conducted an extensive military operation against the Islamist militant group, which has seen Boko Haram lose much of its territory inside Nigeria.

Nigeria’s military said on Saturday that it had launched a fresh operation in the region, killing five militants and arresting 23. The operation was aimed at “getting rid of all forms of criminal activities,” according to Nigerian Army spokesman Sani Usman, Reuters reported. There was no immediate response from the militant groups.

The Niger Delta has seen several uprisings— including in the mid-2000s by a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)—by groups demanding a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth for the impoverished region. MEND has said previously that it is assisting the government in negotiating an end to the current crisis.

Nigerian oil output may stay low through 2017

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — Nigerian crude oil production will likely remain suppressed by militant activity at least through next year, a report from the U.S. government said.

The most active of the many militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, the Niger Delta Avengers surfaced early this year and have since contributed to a steep drop in crude oil production. Based on a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total Nigerian crude oil production fell to a 30-year low this year.

“Crude oil production disruptions in Nigeria reached 750,000 barrels per day in May 2016, the highest level since at least January 2009,” the EIA’s report read.

The Niger Delta Avengers have been waging a militant campaign against national and international energy companies working in the Niger Delta. The group accused the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil and gas interests over the interests of the people in the Niger Delta.

In official statements, the group said it was countering the government’s narrative that its campaign targeted Nigerian security forces and oil workers, instead blaming the administration of Buhari, a former military general, for some of the violence.

In an early August statement, spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo said the group was calling for the restructuring of the country, saying the Buhari administration was deaf to the plight of its citizens.

The EIA’s report said the NDA’s campaign has been “immediate” and “severe” for Nigerian oil production. The Buhari administration at one point this year suggested a truce was brokered with militant groups, but the Niger Delta Avengers said in an official statement that it had “not negotiated with anyone.” The government, however, has continued with an amnesty program aimed to stemming the tide of violence.

“However, because payouts are just one of the NDA’s many demands, crude oil production stoppages are likely to continue until the Nigerian government and the NDA can reach a comprehensive agreement,” the U.S. government’s report read. “EIA expects Nigerian oil production to remain depressed through 2017 as a result of militant attacks.”

Nigeria: Joint offensive against Niger Delta militants leaves 100 dead


Offensives started months after oil pipeline attacks severely affected country’s oil production.

Nigerian security forces have started a joint offensive against militants from the Niger Delta that resulted in the death of 100 people. Estimates suggest the death toll could be as high as 114.

The army, air force and navy carried out raids in Lagos and Ogun states where the country’s intelligence said the militants were hiding while planning attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta, southern Nigeria.

“The significance of this combined and very vibrant effort of the Nigerian armed forces is to ensure that the militants are flushed out from that general area where they have been causing mayhem and, more significantly, to ensure that their hideouts and camps are completely taken away from that place,” army’s spokesperson, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement.

He added the joint offensive is expected to continue in other parts of the country.

The offensive started as attacks blamed on the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group, which emerged at the beginning of the year, have brought oil production to a 30-year low. NDA, the latest group to wage war against Nigeria due to perceived marginalisation in the Delta, vowed to bring the country’s oil production down “to zero”.

Latest estimates by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) suggested that oil production in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, increased to 1.9m barrels from 1.4m barrels a day.

Dialogue with militants

The Nigerian government has claimed several times it has started a dialogue with the militants to find a solution to renewed violence, something the NDA has always denied.

Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed talks were taking place in July, the NDA accused him of spreading false claims and claimed responsibility for an attack at a gas pipeline in Akwa Ibom state.

The NDA, the latest militant group to wage war against Nigeria due to perceived marginalisation in the Delta, has also denied claims that the federal government had reached a 30-day truce with militants. The group also urged Buhari to visit the country’s south-east to witness the scale of damage caused by years of oil spills.

How Niger Delta Avengers disarmed Nigerian soldiers in Bayelsa unharmed


Niger Delta Avengers claimed five attacks on oil facilities Sunday. On Friday, it disarmed members of the Nigerian soldiers, gave them message for Shell and left them unharmed.

Radically armed militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, it was reported invaded a cluster of Nigeria soldiers guarding a facility owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company without a fatal incident. Unlike most clashes between the government forces and the militants, there was no kidnapping nor any fatal incident, instead, the militants overpowered the soldiers and treated then to a chat before leaving them unharmed.

It was on Friday afternoon when a fiercely armed team of the Avengers, in three gun boats stormed the seaside vicinity of Gbaraintoru community in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa State where Shell operates a liquefied and natural gas gathering plant. An ill-equipped group of Nigerian soldiers began to retreat, but was outstripped by the militants. The militants quickly indicated they meant no harm, held their captors to a friendly chat and gave them a message to Shell.    

The last major incident involving   the militants and the Nigerian Joint Military Force in the embattled and oil-rich Niger Delta was early May, when three soldiers guarding an oil installation were shot and killed. The incident prompted Shell to close the terminal exporting Nigeria’s benchmark Bonny Light crude oil and evacuate workers from the oil field.  

The story was initially reported by which interviewed one of the eyewitness of the incident. According to Eastern Radio, the militants courteously asked the men of the Nigerian Military to inform Shell to immediately close down the plant.  According to the Eastern Radio, “They told them to inform Shell to shut down the plant at once; that they do not want to see that gas flare anymore. After which they zoomed off and were soon out of sight”.

The last major incident involving   the militants and the Nigerian Joint Military Force in the embattled and oil-rich Niger Delta was early May, when three soldiers guarding an oil installation were shot and killed. The incident prompted Shell to close the terminal exporting Nigeria’s benchmark Bonny Light crude oil and evacuate workers from the oil field.  

An inability of the Buhari’s regime to address the Niger Delta problems have provoked more attacks by the Niger Delta Avengers,; and a lack of strategies by the Nigerian Joint Military Force to protect the oil installations may have worsened the matter. For instance, just yesterday, the Niger Delta Avengers claimed five attacks on oil facilities region. In messages posted via its Twitter account Sunday, the militant group said it had blown up an oil pipeline at a refinery in Warri, in the southern Delta state, at a facility run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC). Group also said it had attacked two lines close to Batan flow station in Delta state, which is run by an NNPC subsidiary. The group added that it had attacked two facilities run by U.S. Company Chevron near Abiteye in Delta state early Sunday.

Niger Delta Avengers unites for the worst


IN THE Niger Delta, a gun is an investment that yields excellent returns. Jamnogo Blessing, a gang member, recently turned up in Yenagoa, a turbulent city in the oil-pumping Niger Delta, to buy a stash of weapons from militants who hung up their boots seven years ago. “The only language the government listens to is violence,” he says. Once rearmed, his gang will attack oil companies operating around his home town of Idheze, he adds.

An army of unemployed young men like Mr Blessing is threatening to rise up in southern Nigeria and blow up oil pipelines. The industry, on which Nigeria depends for nearly all government revenues, could be crippled, as it was for much of the early 2000s. Production has already fallen to about 1.5m barrels a day (b/d), down from 2.2m last year, as attacks gather pace. This has helped push the global oil price back up to almost $50 a barrel. And it could spell disaster for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is trying to stave off recession. His budget assumed almost double that level of output this year.

Responsibility for much of the damage has been claimed by a mysterious and skilful band called the Niger Delta Avengers. Earlier this year they set off an explosion six metres under water, cutting output by 250,000b/d. Foreign oil firms are giving up on repairs, since the saboteurs just strike again. Local producers who rely on pipelines have been forced to turn off the taps. “We’ve had not a drop of oil for four and a half months,” laments Kola Karim, the boss of Shoreline Energy, one such group.

The Avengers say they want more local control of resources. This is what gunmen in the Niger Delta always say. And by “local”, they mean they’d like a taste of the money themselves. “It’s just old wine in a new jar,” says Jonjon Oyeinfe, an activist. The last set of militants more or less stopped fighting after they were bought off with an amnesty in 2009, and a monthly stipend of 60,000 naira each (about $400 at the time). That is a huge sum in a region where most people live on less than a dollar a day, and gives other men a reason to take up arms.

Many Niger Deltans sympathise with the rebels. Until last year a local man, Goodluck Jonathan, was president of Nigeria and showered goodies on his home region. Mr Buhari, who hails from the north, has cancelled a number of pipeline security contracts that had been given to southerners, including Mr Tompolo, and slashed the budget for paying off ex-fighters by 70%. Unemployed former rebels moan that it has been four months since they got their last monthly stipend. They are also furious that a proposed oil-law amendment would scrap the royalty that went to local communities. “Right now everybody in the Niger Delta is an Avenger, because everyone is angry,” says one former fighter, sitting by a swimming pool. Other rebel groups with comic-book titles such as the Niger Delta Suicide Squad seem to pop up almost every day.

Some of their complaints are fair. Nigeria’s oil business is a labyrinth of patronage and corruption, where politicians skim off profits and cartels steal hundreds of millions of barrels every year. Oil pollution kills fish and impoverishes fishermen. Yet there is no reason to think that it would be better managed if control were devolved to the Delta. For years a hefty 13% of oil revenue has been pumped back into the producing states, but governors have generally squandered it. Another war would only make matters worse. “This will not stop until they do things right,” says the retired militant. “The time will come when Nigeria is producing no oil at all.”

U.S. World Business Tech & Science Culture Sports Opinion Subscribe To Newsweek Sign In World Niger Delta Avengers Deny Ceasefire with Nigerian Government


The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have again disavowed a purported ceasefire with the Nigerian government.

The militant group, which has carried out attacks on oil pipelines and infrastructure in the oil-producing Niger Delta region since February, announced via its Twitter feed Tuesday: “The NDA High Command never remember [sic.] having any agreement on ceasefire with the Nigeria Government.”

Nigerian Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has said that the government is willing to negotiate with the NDA and other militant groups, who want a greater share of the West African country’s oil wealth. Kachikwu said earlier in June that the Nigerian military would scale down its activities in the Niger Delta in a bid to clear a path for peace talks. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to engage with the grievances felt by communities in the Niger Delta.

An unnamed official in Nigeria’s petroleum ministry confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that a one-month ceasefire had been agreed with militants in the Niger Delta, including the NDA, but the Nigerian government has made no official announcement of such a deal being in place. A former militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)—which led an insurgency in the region in the mid-2000s—has also urged the NDA to negotiate with the government, but the latter group has denounced the former and accused it of selling out to the government.

The rise of the NDA has had a dramatic impact on the oil output of Nigeria, traditionally Africa’s biggest oil producer. Nigeria is currently producing around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd), down from 2.2 million bpd at the start of 2016, and has slipped behind Angola as the continent’s top producer.

Niger Delta Avengers bombs another pipeline

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 16 (UPI) — The assault on oil installations in the Niger Delta continued Thursday with a group taking credit for blowing up a pipeline run by a national oil company.

The attack is the second in less than a week for the Niger Delta Avengers, which has declared war on the national and international oil companies operating in the region. The militant group, and others like it in the Niger Delta region, argues the government in Abuja has put revenue interests above the interests of its people. In its latest official statement, the group said the people of the Niger Delta have been asking for basic necessities since crude oil was discovered in the region.

“The NDA high command is restating our commitment to attack the interest of oil corporation and international refineries operators that bring in vessels to the Niger delta territory to buy our oil that every successive government have refused to use and reapply the proceeds towards any development in the region since 1958,” it said in a statement Monday.

The campaign in the Niger Delta comes at a time when the nation’s economy is struggling under the strains of low crude oil prices. In its latest survey, the International Monetary Fund said the challenges for Nigeria’s economy are “substantial,” government deficit has doubled and inflation is running close to 10 percent.

Of the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria ranks seventh in terms of overall production. In a comment on short-term market disruptions in May, OPEC said “Nigerian output slumped to levels not seen in over a decade on the back of a wave of militant activity.”

x Close

Like Us On Facebook