Monday, November 15, 2010

Exxon Mobil Says Offshore Platform in Nigeria Attacked

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Nigerian unit said armed attackers boarded one of its offshore platforms on the country’s southeast coast yesterday amid increasing violence in the oil-rich region.

Exxon didn’t say whether anyone had been hurt or what damage had been done. “Relevant government and security agencies have been informed and appropriate response measures are underway,” the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

The southern Niger River delta, home to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, has seen a new surge of violence since a government amnesty in 2009 led to the disarming of thousands of fighters and a period of relative quiet. Seven foreign workers were abducted in an attack on Afren Plc’s offshore Okoro field on Nov. 7, about a week after an Eni SpA pipeline was sabotaged in a separate attack.

Exxon Mobil holds a 40 percent stake in a venture it operates for majority partner, state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. The venture produces 720,000 barrels a day of crude, condensate and natural gas liquids from 90 offshore platforms in the country, according to its website.

Attacks by armed groups in the delta region cut Nigeria’s oil output by more than 28 percent between 2006 and 2009, according to Bloomberg data.

Though the violence declined following last year’s amnesty, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main militant group in the region, refused to disarm, saying its demands for local control of oil revenue weren’t met. MEND claimed responsibility for the attack on Afren.

Another Militant Group

Another armed group, which identified itself as the Niger Delta Liberation Force under the leadership of General John Togo, said in an e-mailed statement to reporters yesterday it was “no longer part of the fraudulent amnesty” and will target oil installations in fresh attacks.

“This time, we will operate on both land and sea,” the group said in the statement. “Oil installations are our target.”

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and the fifth- biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

--Editors: Alex Devine, Raj Rajendran.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dulue Mbachu in Lagos at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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