TurkishPress.com: Local protest blocks oil delivery in Nigeria: Shell: “Despite living on top of this multi-billion dollar resource, the vast majority of Nigeria's 130-million-strong population lives in abject poverty, with three-quarters of the people struggling on less than one dollar per day.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 26 Jan 05
LAGOS (AFP) - A community protest in Nigeria's southeastern Abia State has forced the closure of two flowstations and a gas plant, shutting in about 35,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell announced.
A group of about 300 protesters from Owaza community, armed with machetes and other weapons, set up barricades blocking access to the Imo River 1 and 3 flowstations, as well as Associated Gas facilities, Shell said in a statement.
"Following this development, about 35,000 barrels per day of crude oil production has been shut in, and the 10 million standard cubic feet per day gas supply to the Nigerian Gas Company, and industries in Aba stopped," it said.
Aba is a major commercial and industrial city in the state.
The protests also forced the shutdown of the generator supplying electricity to the Imo River Field Logistics Base (FLB) and the community, Shell added.
"All Shell workers on the affected facilities have been safely evacuated, while we continue to engage the state government and the community to ensure an early return of normalcy," said the statement.
The unrest was sparked by anger over the choice of representative to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the government agency that provides hospitals, schools, electricity and roads in the oil-rich southern region.
The state acting governor, Chima Nwafor, on Tuesday visited the community and advised them to channel their grievances through official channels, but failed to persuade them to allow the re-opening of the flowstation and gas plant, the statement said.
Around 114,000 bpd of Shell's production and 20,000 from its US rival ChevronTexaco were shut in recently following protests by local communities in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is also the world's sixth biggest oil exporter with a daily output of 2.5 million barrels.
Despite living on top of this multi-billion dollar resource, the vast majority of Nigeria's 130-million-strong population lives in abject poverty, with three-quarters of the people struggling on less than one dollar per day.
The problems of underdevelopment and youth unemployment are particularly acute in the delta, the heartland of the oil industry, where villages built beside billion-dollar oil terminals go without electricity and clean water.
Over recent years repeated local crises -- ethnic uprisings, communal protests, pirate attacks and kidnappings -- have disrupted production and sent shockwaves through already volatile international oil markets.