Global Processing

Nigerian youths blow up oil pipeline, output cut

June 23, 2008
According to Reuters, armed youths blew up a Nigerian crude oil pipeline operated by U.S. major Chevron, a militant group said recently, cutting more output from the world''s eighth largest oil exporter.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it was contacted by youths claiming responsibility for the attack on Chevron''s Abiteye-Olero crude pipeline and commended their action.

The military said about 120,000 barrels per day of crude oil production were shut by the sabotage.

Army Brigadier-General Wuyep Rintip, head of the government''s Joint Task Force in the western Delta, said that the damage was evidently seriously because production was halted,

A Chevron spokeswoman confirmed that one of its pipelines was damaged, but declined to say how much output was affected.

A wave of attacks in the West African country has cut production by a fifth since early 2006, helping push world oil prices to record highs.

The incident came hours after a bold night-time militant attack on Royal Dutch Shell''s main offshore oil facility that cut Nigeria''s oil output by 10 percent.

The rise in violence prompted Nigerian President Umaru Yar''Adua to order the country''s armed forces to tighten security in the Niger Delta.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which claimed responsibility for the attack on Shell''s Bonga oilfield, shrugged off the president''s security order as "empty talk" but said it was on a war footing.

COMMUNITY TENSION

A security source told Reuters the pipeline was located in Abiteye, where community members have attacked oil facilities in the past. In June 2007, armed youths attacked a Chevron-operated flow station in the area, forcing the company to shut down around 42,000 bpd of output.

Violence in the Niger Delta stems from a complex set of factors including poverty, lack of basic services, corruption among government officials and security forces, resentment toward foreign oil companies, and political thuggery.

Yar''Adua came into power just over a year ago promising to bring more security to the Niger Delta region, but the peace process has stalled.

The Nigerian government will hold a long-awaited Niger Delta peace summit next month. But MEND and another rebel group -- Ijaw Youth Council -- have said they will not attend because they have lost faith in the government''s peace process.