Nigerian militants threaten oil rig attacks

Nigerian militants have threatened to attack off-shore oil facilities, raising fears of a repeat of a 2016 wave of violence. The Niger Delta Avengers – the fighters behind many of the 2016 attacks – said last week they had planned the assaults “within days” after giving up on talks to give their impoverished southern region a greater share of the oil revenue it produced. “This round of attacks will be the most deadly and will be targeting the deep sea operations of the multinationals,” the group said in a statement on its website.

It said its targets, in the seas off the swampland delta region, would include the Bonga Platform and the Agbami, EA and Akpo fields. The militants also said they would target the Nigerian oil company Britannia-U. Shell operates the Bonga and EA fields while Chevron is the operator of Agbami. Akpo stakeholders include Total, China’s CNOOC, Brazil’s Petrobras and Nigeria’s Sapetro.

Attacks on pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta in 2016 cut Nigeria’s crude production from a peak of 2.2m bpd to near 1m bpd – the lowest level seen in Africa’s top oil producer in at least 30 years.

The militants agreed to a ceasefire in August 2016 – a development that helped pull Nigeria back out of recession in the second quarter of last year. But they called off the truce in November.

The Niger Delta Avengers bombed the Forcados sub-sea pipeline in 2016, a strike which involved the use of divers. No substantial attacks have been carried out by any groups in the Delta region since January 2017.