Militants attack Nigerian oil, gas installations

Shell has suffered an explosive attack on its Alakiri flow station, gas plant, and field logistics base southwest of Port Harcourt by a militant group that has warned it will burn them to the ground.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Sept. 17 -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC has suffered an explosive attack on its Alakiri flow station, gas plant, and field logistics base southwest of Port Harcourt by a militant group that has warned it will burn them to the ground.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has pledged to continue the offensive until the Nigerian government enters into dialogue to deal with the volatile situation in the Niger Delta.

It has dubbed the campaign "Operation Hurricane Barbarossa" as the first stage of an "oil war" of sabotage on oil and gas installations. According to Nigerian reports, 115,000 b/d of oil production has been shut in over the past 4 days.

Shell said one security guard was killed and four people wounded during the attack. "A section of the Greater Port Harcourt Swamp Line at Bakana, Rivers State, was attacked," Shell said. The link is part of the Bonny Light crude system.

Chevron Corp. said there also was shooting around its Idama flow station.

Oil companies in the area have evacuated staff from the area, according to Nigerian reports, while security has tightened.

MEND claimed it is holding 27 oil workers who were kidnapped in the Delta after their oil supply vessel was hijacked last week.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has created a new Ministry of Niger Delta, which will focus on development and peace in the area. It will have two ministers to create environmental and youth empowerment policy initiatives. The government has said there would not be any duplication between the new ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Nigeria has shut in about a quarter of its production following the sabotages, making Angola now the leading oil producer in Africa.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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