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Nigeria’s MEND Says It Destroyed Shell Flow Station




Nigeria’s MEND Says It Destroyed Shell Flow Station (Update1) 

By Karl Maier and Tony Tamuno

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — Nigeria’s main militant group in the Niger River delta said it destroyed an oil-pumping station operated by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc as raids against the oil industry in the region entered a fifth day.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, in an e-mailed statement today, said it attacked the Orubiri pumping station in Rivers state at 10 p.m. yesterday. The attack was carried out in a joint operation with another militant group, the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, it said. A Nigerian military spokesman confirmed the raid.

“Every group in the region has dropped their differences and come together to fight a common enemy who has used the instrument of state and the tactics of divide and rule to oppress the region for five decades,” MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the region’s joint military task force, said militants traveling in eight speed boats targeted a naval vessel with 10 people on board at the pumping station. No naval personnel were killed in the attack, he said.

“Militants detonated dynamite, bombs and lobbed some pieces of hand grenades on the facility,” Musa said in a mobile-phone text message. “It is feared that the facility might have caught fire due to intense sporadic gunshots and massive dynamite and bomb explosions.”

Air, Marine Offensive

The latest attacks began on Sept. 13 when Nigerian soldiers and militants clashed in the Elem-Tombia district, south of Port Harcourt, the hub of Nigeria’s oil industry. The militants said troops had launched an air and marine offensive against its positions and declared an “oil war” targeting installations in the region, which produces almost all of Nigeria’s crude.

MEND attacked a Shell-run pipeline at Bakana in Rivers state on Sept. 15 and the company’s Alakiri flow station the night before. Militants also clashed with soldiers near a Chevron Corp. oil field yesterday.

Chevron spokesman Scott Walker said yesterday that the incident near the Idama oil field had no impact on production, which was already shut-in for pipeline repairs.

MEND says it’s fighting on behalf of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta, who have yet to share in the oil wealth of the region. Attacks by armed groups in the region have cut more than 20 percent of Nigeria’s crude exports since 2006.

Nigeria has Africa’s biggest hydrocarbon reserves, with more than 30 billion barrels of crude and 187 trillion cubic feet of gas. The West African country, which had dropped behind Angola as the continent’s top oil exporter because of the violence, is the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

To contact the reporters on this story: Karl Maier in Rome at[email protected]Tony Tamuno in Port Harcourt via Johannesburg at [email protected].

Last Updated: September 17, 2008 02:51 EDT

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