Militants in the Niger Delta have given a two-week ultimatum to owners and operators of oil production and export facilities in the area to shut down their business operations and evacuate staff or suffer a ‘bloody’ attack.
“If at the end of the ultimatum, you are still operating, we will blow up all the locations,” said ‘Colonel’ Mudoch Agbinibo, spokesman for the militant group Niger Delta Avengers, as quoted by Nigerian press.
Shell reportedly began evacuating its staff from the Bonga oilfield in the southern Niger Delta on Monday in response to the terror threat.
Today, Nigeria’s finance minister Kemi Adeosun said in a TV interview that oil production in the country has dropped to 1.65m bpd, which he attributed to “the renewed activities of the militants in the Niger Delta”. Nigeria’s national budget relies on production levels of 2.2m bpd.
The 500,000-bpd production stoppage means Nigeria is now Africa’s second largest oil producer, behind Angola.
Chevron Nigeria was forced to close its Okan offshore platform on May 4 after falling victim to an attack by the Niger Delta Avengers, which have warned the operator not to repair the platform or face another attack.
The Niger Delta Avengers have previously claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shell oil pipeline in February, which shut down the 250,000-bpd Forcados export terminal.