Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil Workers Kidnapped in Nigeria After Killing of Another Foreigner

Oil Workers Kidnapped in Nigeria
After Killing of Another Foreigner

DOW JONES NEWSWIRESMay 11, 2006 11:32 a.m.

Two foreign oil workers were kidnapped from a bus in the Nigerian oil city of Port Harcourt Thursday, people familiar with the matter said, a day after an expatriate employee of U.S. oil-services company Baker Hughes Inc. was shot and killed in the same city.

The abductees were employees of Saipem SpA, which is controlled by Italian oil-and-gas firm Eni SpA, and were being taken to work in a bus when they were kidnapped. The person said they were U.S. citizens, but a U.S. Embassy official said that neither was American. The embassy official said that one was Italian and it was unclear what the nationality of the second worker was.

Saipem said it couldn't confirm the kidnapping and said that the company was looking into the event. “We have contacted our subcontractors in Nigeria and they will be updating us soon,” said a company spokesman.

Baker Hughes spokesman Gene Shiels confirmed Wednesday's slaying of one of the company's workers. Mr. Shiels couldn't say whether the victim was permanently based in Nigeria and described the victim as an expatriate. The employee was on his way to work when the attack occurred, Mr. Shiels added.

The attacks come amid a five-month rebel offensive against the nation's oil industry. A spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in an email to the Associated Press that the group wasn't responsible for the slaying or the kidnappings.

The Niger Delta, where most of Nigeria's oil is produced, has experienced months of unrest in which militants fighting for more control of the area's oil resources have attacked foreign oil companies' facilities and kidnapped several foreign oil workers, all of whom were later released unharmed.

MEND, which has been behind nearly all of the attacks in recent months, warned this week that it would launch new assaults targeting oil facilities and individuals. MEND didn't elaborate on who it would target, but foreign oil companies and foreign oil workers have been the group's targets in the past.

The group, a coalition of disparate groups, took responsibility for kidnapping several foreign oil workers earlier this year. Those workers were later released unharmed.

MEND has rejected talk of a cease-fire with the government and has pledged to continue launching attacks until its demands are met. The group, affiliated with the ethnic Ijaw group that dominates the Niger Delta, has said steadfastly it won't stop its attacks until the government addresses its biggest demands.

These include greater control of the oil resources in the delta, where most of the region's 20 million people live in poverty, and the release of two Ijaw leaders jailed on treason and money-laundering charges.

The group is also demanding $1.5 billion in compensation from oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC for environment damage it says was caused by the company. Shell has rejected the charges.

The latest attacks follow two car bomb strikes in recent weeks and protests at the Qua Iboe oil export terminal run by ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company.

Several Nigerian troops and some civilians have been killed in the past months' attacks, which have cut about a fifth of Nigeria's typical daily production of 2.4 million barrels a day.

Shell, which has borne the brunt of the attacks on oil facilities, has said it will not restart its shut-in oil production until it is safe to do so. The company's direct share of the shut-in production is about 165,000 barrels a day.

Write to Dow Jones Newswires editors at [email protected]

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.