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Suspected militants bomb Eni’s gas pipeline in Nigeria

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PHOTO:AFP

Niger Delta militants brandish weapons on the Escravros River in the Niger Delta. Photograph: Dave Clark/AFP/Getty Images

Suspected Niger delta oil rebels have bombed a gas pipeline owned by the Nigeria subsidiary of Italy’s Eni, the latest attack on the country’s oil facilities, a company official said Wednesday.

The militants blew up the Agip gas pipeline at Ogbembiri in the Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa state on Sunday, leading to an oil production drop equivalent to 1,000 barrels per day, said the official who asked not to be identified.

“I can confirm the sabotage to that pipeline. The production impact is approximately 1,000 bpd of Eni’s equity,” he told AFP.

The pipeline has been repeatedly breached this year amid renewed violence in the region.

A new militant group called the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has carried out several attacks on key pipelines and facilities operated by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and US group Chevron, hurting output in Africa’s biggest economy and major crude producer.

On Monday, the junior oil minister, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, told parliament that Nigeria’s output had slumped to 1.4 million bpd from 2.2 million because of the unrest.

Industry sources said power generation has also dropped to some 1,400 megawatts, from 4,000, for a population of more than 170 million as a result of disruptions in gas supplies.

The NDA is thought to have sympathy for a former rebel leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who is wanted on corruption charges.

An ally of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Ekpemupolo is one of the most high-profile former leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

MEND attacked oil and gas facilities in the 2000s as part of a campaign to secure a fairer share of crude revenue for the delta region until a government amnesty was introduced in 2009.


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