An Italian Eni pipeline has been attacked again, for the fourteenth time this year, putting 4,200 barrels of oil per day of Eni production offline amid a resurgence in militancy.
An Eni spokesman contacted by UPI confirmed the attack late on Saturday on the Ogbaimbiri-Tebidaba pipeline in Bayelsa state.
Nigerian officials attributed the attack to a gang of armed youths, who vandalized the pipeline along the Azuzuama axis using dynamite.
One of the attackers has reportedly been arrested, but Nigeria media are reporting that the pipeline is still on fire.
The attack follows a similar attack on an Eni pipeline last week and attacks on oil installations run by Shell and Chevron earlier this month.
According to African media reports, residents are now fleeing the area following clashes between rival armed groups at an oilfield operated by AGIP Oil Company (NAOC)—a subsidiary operated by Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary. Media have cited residents as saying that rival groups are fighting for control of the Ogbaimbiri-Tebidaba crude trunk line that runs through this region.
The latest attack also came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari moved to step up the military’s presence in the Niger Delta as attacks on oil installations have gained sudden momentum, resulting in a significant drop in oil output, which some say has reached a two-decade low.
Nigeria’s oil production has plunged by 40 percent, falling to just 1.4 million barrels per day. “Because of the incessant attacks and disruption of production in the Niger Delta, as I talk to you now, we are now producing about 1.4 million barrels per day,” Nigeria’s oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said last week, according to Reuters. “We were at 2.2 million bpd but we have lost 800,000 barrels.”
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com