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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Nigerian Militants Threaten Major Gas Export Plant

Nigerian Militants Threaten Major Gas Export Plant

Published: May 12, 2006

Filed at 7:29 a.m. ET

LAGOS (Reuters) – Militants threatened on Friday to destroy a $13 billion natural gas export plant in Nigeria.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Deltasaid in an email to Reuters they were conscious of the potential for an attack on the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant to hurt nearby communities, and would launch a warning raid on an oil facility beforehand.

“We recognize the catastrophic result of an unannounced attack on the NLNG and will not do so without good warning to surrounding communities,'' MEND said.

“We will destroy that plant but I promise you, we will carry out a terrible unannounced attack on an oil installation as a prelude to the NLNG attack and a warning to all to vacate that gas plant.''

The group has been waging a five-month campaign of bombings, sabotage and kidnapping against the industry which has cut oil output by a quarter and crippled power supply in Nigeria.

They are demanding more local autonomy over the delta's huge oil revenues and the release of two jailed leaders.

NLNG is one of the world's largest gas liquefaction plants supplying 17 million tonnes a year of frozen, compressed gas to power stations in Europe and America.

It is owned by state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with 49 percent, Royal Dutch Shell with 25.6 percent, Total with 15 percent and ENI with 10.4 percent.

Asked about the threat, a spokeswoman for the plant said: ''I have never heard that before. We have never been in the line of fire.''

The whole oil and gas industry in the Niger Delta is on a heightened state of alert since the start of MEND's attacks, she added, saying that armed police protection had been reinforced around the plant site at Bonny Island.

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