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Reuters: No return to abandoned Nigerian oilfields: source

Wed Apr 5, 2006 6:15 AM ET
LAGOS (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and other companies have no plans to return their staff to abandoned oilfields in Nigeria's southern delta until there is a truce with militants, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Edmund Daukoru said on Monday that Shell would resume production from its abandoned EA oilfield within days, but the company has made no official response.
Militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have waged a four-month campaign of kidnapping and sabotage against the world's eighth largest oil exporter which has cut supplies by a quarter.
They have threatened more attacks.
“The federal government must give us an assurance that the threat no longer exists and also hear from the militant side that that is correct,” an oil industry source said, asking not to be named.
“Anything short of that would be taking an uncalculated risk with our staff,” he added, noting that militants engaged troops in a gun battle in the delta on Thursday last week.
A Shell spokeswoman in London said: “We will return to the areas when it is safe to do so and there's nothing known in terms of timing.”
Oil industry sources said a meeting between the government and delta groups scheduled for later on Wednesday was unlikely to achieve anything because key players from the militant side would be absent.
Prominent Niger Delta activists have called for a boycott of Wednesday's meeting with the government on the grounds that it was poorly conceived and unlikely to produce tangible results in terms of development of the remote wetlands region.

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