A security source and community leader in Delta State confirmed that men suspected to be Niger Delta militants have blown up the Trans Forcados export line, a state-run oil pipeline near Warri, the southern Nigerian oil hub.
The Trans Forcados export line which was attacked in July and had just resumed operation at the weekend after repairs, was again sent back to coma late Tuesday, November 1, just shortly after the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and representatives of militant groups in the south-south. The meeting was organised to discuss possible ways to end the lingering unrest in the region.
Presently, no militant group has claimed to be responsible for the recent attack.
Meanwhile, a security officer who spoke under the condition of anonymity said:
“The attack was carried out with the aid of dynamite and it is coming less than 48 hours after the resumption of operations at the flow station”.
Confirming the incident, Dickson Ogugu, chairman of Batan community where the pipeline is located said a surveillance team had discovered the site of the attack. “The entire river is flooded with contents from the damaged trunk line and we are at the receiving end,” he added.
The damaged oil pipeline belongs to the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and receives crude from Batan near Warri.
Since the beginning of 2016, many militant groups including the dreaded Niger Delta Avengers, have launched attacks at different times on oil facilities, causing a drastic reduction in the country’s oil output as well as a reduction in national revenues.
According to the groups, what they want is a fairer share of the nation’s multi-billion-dollar oil wealth for indigenes of the region in addition to a greater political independence.
Consequent upon peace talks in Abuja chaired by President Buhari on November 1, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said the country’s oil production was returning to normal.
“The reality is that as of today and this morning, we are at 2.1 million barrels production. That’s substantial,” he said, adding that efforts to secure peace were succeeding.
Initially, Nigeria’s oil production was at about 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) but as a result of the unrest in the oil rich region, it dropped to a low of 1.4 bpd this year.