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Shell evacuates staff from Nigerian delta conflict

AlertNet.Org: Shell evacuates staff from Nigerian delta conflict

“Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell has evacuated non-essential staff from two flow stations in the Niger delta, where Nigerian government forces have been attacking rebel militia, a company spokesman said on Friday.”

By Tom Ashby

24 Sep 2004

LAGOS, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch/Shellhas evacuated non-essential staff from two flow stations in the Niger delta, where Nigerian government forces have been attacking rebel militia, a company spokesman said on Friday.

The decision was taken as a precaution after the company noted troop movements on Thursday around the installations at Soku and Ekulama, near Rivers state capital Port Harcourt, the spokesman added, and oil production has not been affected.

“We noticed the movement of troops to the Soku and Ekulama areas where we have flow stations and for security reasons we had to evacuate non-essential staff,” he said.

“We have not heard of any exchange of fire but we sense there may be clashes.”

Companies are on a heightened state of alert after a commander of the rebel Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) told Reuters on Thursday that he would attack oil installations unless the military halted a two-week-old operation to flush out what it calls armed bandits from their river hideouts in the southeastern Rivers state.

A violent uprising last year in the nearby Delta state by members of the Ijaw tribe, who are in majority in the region, forced companies to shut 40 percent of Nigeria’s production.

“The troops are not there to protect our facilities. They are going after militants as in other parts of Rivers state,” the Shell spokesman said.

Nigeria is the world’s seventh largest oil exporter and the fifth most important supplier to the United States. About half the nation’s 2.5 million barrels per day comes from the eastern delta around Port Harcourt.

The NDPVF has been waging a guerrilla war against rival militias in Rivers state, a conflict that observers say is linked to broader political rivalries in the state.


The army announced earlier this month that it was taking over security in Rivers state from the police to “cleanse the state of all forms of armed banditry”. Hundreds of extra troops have been moved to places that have seen regular violence.

Amnesty International estimated up to 500 people were killed in gang fighting in the three weeks to mid-September, but the government says the number is much smaller.

Nigerian troops fired on rebel camps using helicopter warships last week.

NDPVF leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari has said he is fighting for self-determination for the impoverished inhabitants of the Niger delta, which pumps all the nation’s oil. The government describes him as a bandit fighting for control of smuggling routes used by oil thieves.

The rebels say they control the southwestern quarter of Rivers state, where Shell and ENIunit Agip operate oil wells and pipelines.

Oil companies could not immediately specify how much oil production passes through this area, but the whole eastern delta region around Port Harcourt pumps half the country’s 2.5 million barrels per day.

The most important oil installation in the region is the Bonny export terminal, which exports almost a million barrels per day of crude, but this is unlikely to be threatened in the short term as it is heavily protected by federal troops. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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