There will be blood, Nigerian militant group warns


Nov. 3 (UPI) — To the international oil companies working in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, a militant cease-fire is officially over, the Niger Delta Avengers said Friday.

“Our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign which we operated successfully without any casualties,” spokesman Murdoch Agbinibo said in a statement. “This outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody.”

It’s been nearly a year to the day since the group took credit for an attack on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region. The last time it took credit for an attack of note was during the second week of November 2016 when it said its rebel forces attacked an export pipeline controlled in part by a regional subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that has the capacity to carry as much as 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

The NDA accused the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil and gas interests over the interests of the people in the Niger Delta and its campaign had been blamed for pushing total Nigerian crude oil production to a 30-year low last year.

This time, the NDA said it would target a floating production and storage facility under construction at a South Korean shipyard, to be operated by the Nigerian subsidiary of French supermajor Total.

“We are presently tracking and monitoring its movement,” Agbinido said. “And God willing, it shall not operate successfully in amidst the return of the fury of the Niger Delta Avengers.”

Total offered no comment when asked by UPI.

After slipping into a formal recession last year, the Nigerian government said the contribution of oil to economic growth slipped slightly more than 2 percent. The government’s Bureau of Statistics said at the time the economy, measured by gross domestic product, declined 2 percent year-over-year.

Nigeria emerged from recession in the second quarter, after five straight quarters of contraction. Year-over-year growth for 2017 was about 0.6 percent. Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Nigeria produced 1.8 million barrels of oil per day last month, up 19 percent from the 2016 average.

The NDA said some of its militants had switched sides and were now working with the Buhari administration, but it wouldn’t stop its campaign until the Niger Delta was liberated.

“We can assure you that every oil installation in our region will feel warmth of the wrath of the Niger Delta Avengers,” it said.

Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries exempt for a multilateral agreement to trim production to balance an oversupplied market. Nigeria asked for exemption so it can steer oil revenue toward national security efforts.