Reuters: Outage from Nigeria pipeline blast now at 35,000 bpd: “The outage had previously amounted to 180,000 bpd after unknown gunmen attacked two pipelines on Dec. 20, killing 11 people and setting off a huge blaze and oil slick.”: "Most of the delta's estimated 20 million inhabitants live in extreme poverty alongside an industry that has generated billions of petrodollars for foreign oil firms and the faraway Nigerian government, seen as corrupt and oppressive.": Monday 26 December 2005
LAGOS, Dec 25 (Reuters) - A cut in output of crude oil from Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> operations in southern Nigeria caused by a pipeline attack is now just 35,000 barrels per day (bpd), a spokesman for the company said on Sunday.
The outage had previously amounted to 180,000 bpd after unknown gunmen attacked two pipelines on Dec. 20, killing 11 people and setting off a huge blaze and oil slick.
"The clean-up of the spill is set to start. Deferment is now at 35,000 bpd," a spokesman for the Nigerian arm of Shell said.
Shell declared a force majeure, a technical release from honouring contracts, following the attack on the two pipelines, in the remote Opobo channel in Rivers state.
The pipelines flow to the Bonny Light export terminal. The 180,000 bpd outage, which represented 7 percent of Nigerian output, pushed world oil prices higher last week.
A previously unheard-of group calling itself the Martyrs' Brigade has claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened further violence against the oil industry in the delta.
It is not uncommon for militant groups in the delta to issue such threats and they are not always followed by action. The government said the Martyrs' Brigade and other leads were being investigated.
The group says it is a breakaway faction of the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF), an ethnic Ijaw militant group whose firebrand leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari is in jail awaiting a treason trial for calling for the disintegration of Nigeria.
The NDPVF issued a statement of its own on Saturday, disassociating itself from the Martyrs' Brigade. It said it had negotiated with fellow militants to try and keep the peace in the delta but "the seekers of armed struggle seem to have finally had their way".
It called on the government to ensure that Asari received a fair trial regardless of events in the delta.
Sabotage and violence targeted at the oil industry are frequent in the delta, a vast region of mangrove creeks and swamps that accounts for almost all of Nigeria's 2.4 million bpd production.
Most of the delta's estimated 20 million inhabitants live in extreme poverty alongside an industry that has generated billions of petrodollars for foreign oil firms and the faraway Nigerian government, seen as corrupt and oppressive.
The resentment of local communities and a breakdown of law and order have given rise to kidnappings, sabotage, oil theft, conflicts between rival communities and ethnic groups
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