Nigerian militants scrap cease-fire, vow offensive
A conflict could reduce Nigeria's oil output, affecting global oil supply.
(Page 2 of 2)
Various sources including the BBC say that oil production has dropped by about 20 percent since 2006 due to militant attacks. (See map of delta oil installations here.) The online edition of the Nigerian publication This Day reported that output of Shell Oil, Nigeria's largest oil producer, has fallen sharply.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Nigeria's largest oil producer, Shell, which until a few years ago was producing about 1 million barrels of crude oil a day from its operations in the Niger Delta, saw its output decline drastically to some 360,000 b/d in 2008.
Confirming the fall in production, a company spokesman said the Shell Petroleum Development Company's output averaged 360,000 b/d in 2008, down from 409,000 b/d a year earlier, owing to increased militancy and disruptions to its operations in the region.
The online edition of The Punch, a Nigerian newspaper, warned Saturday that the end of the cease-fire could "soon give way to an orgy of violence."
The oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta region has produced several violent militant groups and kidnapping gangs since the early 1990s.
Many protest what they say is the exploitation and pollution of the region by foreign oil companies and the central Nigerian government. Heavily armed, speedboat-borne militants prowl the region's "creeks" and launch periodic attacks on oil facilities.
A 2007 background report by the Council on Foreign Relations says MEND emerged in 2006 and quickly drew concern from the US and other governments.
Oil companies, the Nigerian government, and the United States (Nigeria is the United States' fifth largest supplier of U.S. crude imports) are concerned about MEND's ability to disrupt the global oil supply. Though skilled at leveraging international media, the group remains secretive and opinions vary on its power and ability to sustain itself.
The report detailed the group's stated goals:
Since its inception, MEND has articulated three major demands: the release of [Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, head of another delta militant group] from prison, the receipt of 50 percent of revenues from oil pumped out of the Delta, and the withdrawal of government troops from the Delta. Its broader aim is "resource control," but it has largely failed to delineate specific long-term goals.
[Editor's note: The original headline misidentified the location of the militants.]