…Blow up Chevron gas pipeline
The new militant group, Niger Delta Avenger (NDA), yesterday claimed responsibility for another attack on a gas pipeline belonging to Chevron in Delta State.
The group announced the attack on the Escravos tank farm near the main electricity feed pipeline through which power is supplied to the oil facility.
Following the attack which residents in the area said was executed on Wednesday night, price of crude in the global market rose to a record $50 a barrel.
NDA emerged in February, after claiming responsibility for attack on an underwater pipeline run by Shell, forcing the oil giant to halt its 250,000-barrel-per-day Forcados terminal for weeks. The militant group has since taken responsibility for several other attacks in the southern Delta State, including one earlier this month at an offshore oil platform run by Chevron, which produces tens of thousands of barrels a day. Their activities have driven the country’s oil output to a near 22-year low.
According to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu the country’s oil production dipped by 800,000 barrels per day to 1.4 million barrels per day due to the spate of attacks masterminded by the group.
The NDA explained that the oil facilities were sabotaged following attempts by Chevron to carry out repairs of main Escravos crude oil pipeline it blew up earlier.
The company’s onshore operations in the Niger Delta had been shut down following the attack, which involved the main electricity line leading to its Escravos terminal.
Spokesperson of the group, Mudoch Agbinibo, earlier this month warned the Federal Government of further attacks if their demands were not met.
Last week, Chevron’s Makaraba crude oil line was attacked on the offshore Okan manifold in the region.
It followed previous attacks on the company’s facilities at Abiteye, Utunana and Makaraba platforms in Warri South-West area of Delta State resulting in the loss of over 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
The management of Chevron Nigeria Limited declined comments on the attack.
“We are not able to comment at this time,” Sola Adebawo, manager communications and government relation at CNL said in a text message.
Eric Omare, spokesman for Ijaw Youths Council confirmed the incident but did not provide details.
Meanwhile, former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has appealed to militants to embrace peace while recommending dialogue.
In a statement yesterday, he said: “I’m appealing to the Federal Government to enter into serious engagement process with the youths of the Niger Delta. It is only a carrot and stick approach that will ease the tension. I’m also appealing to the youths to stop pipeline vandalism as it causes both economic and environmental damages.”
The group’s demands include greater ownership of oil resources for the people who live in crude-producing areas, environmental repair and compensation for damages inflicted by oil producers as well as continued government funding for amnesty programme, which observers credited with halting the last round of violence in the region in the last seven years.