A Chevron-operated facility located on the high sea near Escravos in Warri South-West council area of Delta state was late Wednesday blown up. A new militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group had also claimed responsibility for an attack on Shell under-water pipeline at Forcados in February, leading to the oil company declaring a force majeure and shutting the 250,000 barrel-a-day export terminal for weeks.
In claiming responsibility for the Forcados terminal attack in February, the group had stated that: “We take no pleasure in claiming innocent lives hence our struggle is geared toward attacking the oil installation in our region and not the people. And we shall stop at nothing until our goal is achieved.” The late Wednesday attack came after the Forcados attack and less than three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to treat pipeline vandals like Boko Haram militants. “The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learnt a lesson.
Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness,” Buhari had told some Nigerians resident in China. Continuing, the President had said; “I am aware that in the last two weeks, the national grid collapsed a number of times. I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram.” The Okan gas/condensate platform facility attacked by NDA late Wednesday night is a joint venture between Chevron and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). “The facility is currently shut-in and we are assessing the situation, and have deployed resources to respond to a resulting spill,” Chevron said.
Okan is a component of the company’s Escravos gas operations. An oil expert described the attack as a major setback to the country’s oil production, saying the facility is among the company’s most significant platforms. Claiming responsibility for the latest attack on Thursday, the group in a statement posted on its website signed by one Col. Madoch Agninibo, threatened to carry out other attacks on oil installations outside the Niger Delta in Abuja and Lagos. They threatened the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to prevail on the Federal Government to meet their demands. The demand were stated in a statement released on their website.
“At about 10:40pm on Wednesday the Niger Delta Avengers blew up the Chevron valve platform. This platform is the most significant platform for chevron because it’s the main connecting point where all other platforms link up and it’s a fulcrum to chevron BOP and the Chevron Tank farm. With the valve platform blown all chevron activities are now halted. “This is what we promised the Nigeria Government that since they refuse to listen to us we are going to zero the economy of the country. “As for zeroing the Nigeria economy we the Niger delta avengers are done with delta state major oil installations. Now we are taking the fight out of the creeks of the Niger Delta.
We are taking it to Abuja and Lagos now. “We want to pass this message to the all international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta that the Nigeria Military can’t protect your facilities. They should talk to the federal government to meet our demands else more mishaps will befall their installations. “And to the Military we are the masters of the creek and it’s time for you to admit you don’t understand the terrain, making it impossible for the Nigeria military to stop the activities of the Niger Delta avengers.
“Not until our demands are met no repair works should be done at the blast site. Whoever that is going there for any repair work will be doing that at their detriment. “The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers wants to use this medium to thank strike team 6 for successfully blowing up the chevron valve platform.
And we are ready to protect the Niger Delta people,” the statement read. Meanwhile, Spokesman of the Navy, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, has confirmed the attack, saying “Actually, it is true. It is unfortunate that this type of thing happened. It happened far into the high sea so efforts are being intensified to track the perpetrators.” However, the Navy Spokesman, Ezekobe, explained that the attack took place some four miles off the Escravos River. According to him, the platform that was partially damaged was a collection point for crude oil and gas to the main Chevron facility in the area.
Ezekobe said that the Forward Operation Base of the Navy had already dispatched vessels to protect oil platforms in the area and the facility of the Shell Petroleum Development Company that was earlier blown up the new militant group in the Forcados area of Delta State. He said, “Well, it is true, the incident happened four nautical miles off the Escravos Bar. The platform was partly damaged, it is a collection point for crude oil and gas to the main facility in the area, so it has affected production. “Our Forward Operation Base in the area has sent vessels to protect the oil facilities in the area and the one that was attacked at the Forcados.”