26th May, 2016
Chevron’s onshore activities in Niger Delta have been shut down by a militant attack at its Escravos terminal, a company source said on Thursday.
A militant group called the Niger Delta Avengers, which has told oil firms to leave the Delta before the end of May, said late on Wednesday it had blown up the facility’s mains electricity feed.
“It is a crude line which means all activities in Chevron are grounded,” the source told Reuters, without elaborating.
There was no immediate official confirmation from Chevron.
Another source, Zebo Austin, who lives nearby, while speaking with Reuters said: “We heard a loud blast at the Abiteye to Escravos crude pipeline which was blown up last night by yet-to-be identified militant group.”
A Twitter account with the group’s name said late on Wednesday: “We Warned #Chevron<twitter.com/hashtag/Chevron… but they didn’t Listen. @NDAvengers<twitter.com/NDAvengers > just blow up the Escravos tank farm Main Electricity Feed PipeLine.”
The Avengers and other militants, who say they are fighting for a greater share of oil profits, an end to pollution and independence for the region, have intensified attacks in recent months, pushing oil output to its lowest in more than 20 years and compounding the problems faced by Africa’s largest economy.
Meanwhile, Abuja has responded by moving in army reinforcements but British Foreign Minister, Philip Hammond, said this month that President Muhammadu Buhari needed to deal with the root causes of the conflict.
Crude oil sales from the Delta account for 70 percent of national income but residents in the area, some of whom sympathise with the militants, have long complained of poverty.
Buhari has extended an amnesty deal signed with militants in 2009 that stepped up funding for the region. But he has cut funding for the amnesty programme and cancelled contracts with former militants to protect the pipelines they used to attack.