- Communities give military 72 hours to release 5 oil workers
From Emmanuel Ogoigbe, Warri
NIGER Delta Avengers (NDA) are said to be currently responsible for rising crude oil prices on the global market.
The militants group has cut Nigeria’s supply drastically, reducing global supply.
The ministry of petroleum resources put the country’s estimated crude oil output for a major part of 2016 at 2.2 million barrels per day.
However, Nigeria is currently producing about 800,000 barrels below its estimated levels for 2016.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) data has shown that a drop of 500,000 barrels in the supply of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil often leads to a surge in prices.
According to UK Business Insider: “Oil prices are close to hitting $50 per barrel for the first time since November — but it has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia and Iran cutting oil production, as so much of the market has hoped.
“It is all down to Nigerian militants,” the newspaper said yesterday.
Nigeria lost its place as Africa’s largest oil producer earlier in May.
Speaking at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Monday, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu said Nigeria is currently producing at 1.4 million barrels per day.
Kachikwu added that Nigeria’s upstream rigs production had fallen to zero.
“I do share the sentiments of many Nigerians, that the country that produces 2.2 million barrels should not be in the business of importing petroleum products,” he said.
“We need to begin to look at our upstream, we have unwittingly killed the upstream. Today, there’s no single rig operating in Nigeria. All the rigs are gone.
“When the rigs are gone, it means that no meaningful exploration can take place.”
Two weeks ago, Shell Nigeria declared force majeure, halting production along its Nembe Creek trunk line.
Meanwhile, Delta communities hosting the facilities of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) have denied claims by the military that five persons arrested at the weekend were militants bombing oil and gas facilities in the area.
The communities said contrary to the reports, the five alleged militants were contract workers at the American oil giants, inspecting earlier bombed pipelines ahead of the visit of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) team to inspect the extent of damage when the military troops swooped on them.
They stated that the workers were with their identification cards and were ferried to the site in Chevron’s boat, adding that their explanations that they were sent for inspection fell on deaf ears as they were taken to the military base at Koko and locked up.
The communities threatened to withdraw all surveillance workers, among other workers, working for oil firms in the area, if the military failed to release the oil workers within 72 hours.
Chairman of Kokodiagbene, Sheriff Mulade, who spoke on behalf of the oil producing communities in the area, expressed dismay over the lukewarm attitude of the management of Chevron over the arrest of the workers branded members of Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). The Sun