Nigeria Militant Group MEND Weighing More Oil Facility Attacks

LONDON Jul 03, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The main Nigerian militant group behind a wave of attacks on energy facilities and abductions of foreign oil workers said Tuesday it isn't extending a one-month ceasefire and that more attacks may be on the way because of a June clash with the Nigerian military that left several people dead.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said it was "waiting for the Nigerian government to respond" to last month's incident in which eight people died at an oil facility at Ogbainbiri in Bayelsa state, one of the country's main oil producing states.

The military says the dead were militants who tried to attack the facility, but MEND says they were mostly unarmed civilians.

"Our truce has indeed expired and it has not been extended," MEND said in an e-mail response to Dow Jones Newswires. "We may carry out an attack at the slightest opportunity. It is evident the families of the dead will not get justice from the Nigerian government."

Nigeria's new government under President Umaru Yar'Adua has pledged to give top priority to addressing the long-festering problems of the country's Niger Delta, where most of Nigeria's oil is produced and most of the region's people live in abject poverty.

MEND has waged a 19-month campaign attacking oil installations and abducting foreign oil workers for ransom payments. About 676,000 barrels a day, or 27%, of Nigeria's effective production capacity is currently shut in due to attacks.

Among MEND's demands is substantial control of the region's oil resources.

The Yar'Adua government tried to ease tensions in the region by releasing jailed militant leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari in June.

Asari's release, after more than a year in prison on treason charges, had been another key MEND demand for it halting attacks.

                      (in barrels a day) 
Forcados Terminal 
& EA Platform           SPDC -a    477,000      1H '07 -b 
Olero Creek              CNL -c     70,000      n/a 
(Locale unavailable)    Agip        15,000      n/a 
Nembe Creek             SPDC        77,000      n/a (Bonny Light Field)
Ogbainbiri Flowstation  Agip        37,000      n/a 
TOTAL                              676,000 -d 

a. SPDC is the Shell Petroleum Development Co., a joint venture operated by Shell, which owns 30%, and with the Nigerian National Petroleum Co. with 55%, Total SA (TOT) with 10% and Eni SpA (E) unit Agip with 5%.

b. Estimate from Shell and the Nigerian oil ministry.

c. CNL is Chevron Nigeria Ltd., which is a joint venture operated by Chevron Corp. (CVX), which owns 40%, and NNPC, with 60%.

d. Total amount shut in is about 27% of Nigeria's estimated effective production capacity of 2.5 million barrels a day. The output capacity is based on an estimate by International Energy Agency.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.