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Nigeria - Niger delta violence

Mend claims attack on Shell installation

Article published on the 2009-07-05 Latest update 2009-07-06 16:38 TU

Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) on Sunday said it had launched an attack on a Shell facility in the country’s Niger delta region. It said the attack took place at 3 am local time Sunday on the “Shell wellhead at Cawthorn Channel One”.

Mend threatened on Saturday to thwart a planned seven-billion-euro gas pipeline, just one day after Algeria, Niger and Nigeria signed an agreement to build a new gas pipeline.

The planned pipeline is to run over 4,000 kilometres and carry gas from the Niger delta, through Niger and on to Algeria. The pipeline is to serve the European market and the first delivery is scheduled for 2015.

“Any money put into the project will go down the drain as we will ensure that it faces the same fate other pipelines are facing today,” the group said in a statement.

The Joint Task Force (JTF), the group in charge of protecting oil companies and personnel in the region, said that Mend was “merely ranting” and could not succeed in its aim.

Russia's Gazprom has expressed an interest in the pipeline project. Last week it signed an agreement with Nigeria’s National Petroleum Company, setting up a joint project in oil, gas processing and transportation.

Mend’s latest attack comes after similar attacks on Shell, Chevron and Agip. The group has been given an ultimatum by Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua to abandon its activities and accept an amnesty by 4 October.

Nigeria’s oil production has dropped by almost a third since 2006 and now stands at 1.8 million barrels a day. Mend began violent attacks in the Niger delta in 2006, saying they were seeking a greater share of the region’s oil wealth to be redistributed to the local population.

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