News June 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

Armed Militants Attack Nigerian Oil Sector, Now Ready for Talks

Mark Babatunde June 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

June 15, 2016 at 11:00 am | News

A new militant group has begun to trouble Nigeria's oil production facilities. Upstreamonline.com

The Niger Delta Avengers, a newly formed armed militant group, has claimed responsibility for a recent spate of attacks on major Nigerian oil and gas installations. These incidents have slashed Nigeria’s oil production to nearly half its former value within the last six months. Now, the group has announced it is open to talks with government.

The militant group, speaking through a statement signed by its spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo, outlined a list of conditions to be met before negotiations with government to include a genuine attitude of restraint on the part of the government, an enabling atmosphere for negotiations and the inclusion of representatives of multinational oil corporations in the proposed peace talks.

The group’s statement reads:

“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is using this medium to restate that there are no new items to put on the table for dialogue, we only want a genuine attitude and conducive atmosphere that will make us commit to any proposed dialogue and last peace talk.”

Continuing, it added,

“We want the federal government to commit members, states of the multinational oil corporations to commit independent mediators to this proposed dialogue; we believe that it is only such environment that will engender genuine dialogue that will be aimed at setting up a framework for achieving the short, medium and long-term demands of the Niger delta to de-escalating this conflict and bring about a lasting peace.”

The Niger Delta Avengers has previously shunned every talk or plea for negotiations with government and even claimed that it was on a mission to completely cripple crude oil production within Nigeria. Their apparent volte-face has come a week after the government of President Muhammadu Buhari deployed the military to the oil-producing creeks to checkmate the activities of the militants.

Nigeria’s current oil production is at its lowest in the past thirty years. At the start of 2016 was put at an estimated 2.2 million barrels per day; the recent attacks have seen production drop to about 1.45 million barrels per day, according to a recent Bloomberg news survey.

As the world’s sixth largest oil exporter in 2015, Nigeria’s slump has lowered OPEC’s monthly production output from 32.83 million barrels per day to 32.71 million barrels per day. Consequently, oil prices have climbed up to $52 per barrel, the highest since October last year.

However, the Niger Delta Avengers have promised to continue carrying out random bombings and vandalism of major oil installations within Nigeria in the period leading up to negotiations. They also promised to avoid human causalities with the caveat that these conditions would change should the oil companies commence repairs of destroyed installations and continue production within the Niger Delta region.

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