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Niger delta rebel group warns of renewed attacks

09 Jan 2017 02:15 GMT
Niger delta rebel group warns of renewed attacks

Cape Town, 9 January (Argus) — Nigerian rebel group Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has called an end to its ceasefire in the Niger delta.

The NDA last claimed responsibility for an attack against an oil and gas facility in November last year, when it said it had targeted the Nembe trunk pipeline.

The NDA's latest statement follows the breakdown of indirect talks with the Nigerian government.

"It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation with our people," the NDA said.

The NDA highlighted details of the 39 firms that were awarded crude term contracts for this year by Nigeria state-owned oil firm NNPC last week.

The rebel group has previously organised a series of attacks against oil and gas facilities in the country, including an attack on the main pipeline supplying the 300,000 b/d Forcados crude terminal in February last year.

Any additional attacks on Nigerian oil facilities could further cut the country's crude production. Nigeria crude production fell to around 1.55mn b/d in December from 1.9mn b/d the previous month. This was because of Agbami field maintenance and continuing disruption to the Forcados stream. An industrial strike by ExxonMobil's Nigerian staff in December also resulted in the closure of several oil export terminals.

A fire on 3 January was caused by the shutdown of the 28-inch Shell-operated Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP). The pipeline supplies Bonny Light crude to the Bonny export terminal and also gas to the 22mn t/y Nigeria LNG plant on Bonny island. Around 150,000 b/d of oil and 500mn ft3/d (14.2mn m³) of gas is supplied by the pipeline. The cause of the TNP fire is under investigation.

Force majeures were declared on a series of Nigerian crude exports last years because of rebel attacks and operational setbacks, including Forcados, Bonny Light, Qua Iboe and Brass River.

Gas supplies to the 22mn t/y capacity Nigerian LNG plant and crude supplies to NNPC's three oil refineries have also been disrupted by attacks on pipelines and other oil and gas facilities.

Upstream investment in Africa's largest oil producer has been sharply curtailed by insecurity in the Niger delta. Nigeria's provisional national budget for this year is based on average production of around 2.1mn b/d. Reductions in crude production and lower international oil prices has pushed the Nigerian economy into recession.

Other rebel groups in the Niger delta include the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate.

The Nigerian government last week said it would continue to make payments to former rebel fights under a presidential amnesty scheme that came into force in 2009.