A new attack on Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure targeted a pipeline owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) outside the city of Warri, according to a community leader cited by Reuters.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet, though several groups – most notably the Niger Delta Avengers – have targeted energy infrastructure in and near the Niger Delta over the past few months in an effort to redirect government funds from Lagos to the impoverished region.
The Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) line experienced two blasts on Sunday night, community leader Ogugu Dickson told reporters. An additional security source confirmed blasts in the nearby town of Batan.
“This morning I and some PPMC workers, and security agents, were at the site. All we could see was a huge bubble (of oil) on the surface of the river,” Dickson said.
Men disguised as maintenance workers for Nigeria’s state-run energy company attacked a pipeline in Ogun state last Tuesday night as well, according to local media reports.
Nigerian oil officials had said earlier that pipeline repairs in the Niger River Delta could help the country recover its lost production rate in the coming months, according to Reuters.
One week prior to the government’s optimistic announcement, production had spiked from 1.6 million barrels per day to 1.9 million bpd as several days had passed without attacks from the Niger Delta Avengers or related separatist groups, said Garba Deen Muhammad, a spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
An attack by the Niger Delta Avengers last week set back Nigerian oil production by 10,000 barrels per day, according to a previous Oilprice.com report.
The groups—which promise to attack only oil-related properties, not civilians—have caused Nigeria to lose its position as the continent’s largest energy supplier to Angola.