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Lloyds List: Oil workers abducted in Nigeria

Published: Oct 04, 2006

SECURITY problems in the Niger Delta have escalated after 25 Nigerian workers were abducted during an attack on a convoy of barges, writes Martyn Wingrove .

Local militants attacked the service barges in the Cawthorne Channel, killing up to 10 soldiers and capturing offshore contractors working for Royal Dutch Shell.

It is thought the attacks were orchestrated by friends of jailed tribal chief Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, but some also think it was aimed at stealing the fuel supplies from the barges.

Nigerian sources said the contractors are being held in the village of Bilie, where a barge is thought have been impounded and emptied. Shell Petroleum Development Co is investigating the attacks and will be bolstering security.

This incident comes after a relatively quiet month for Niger Delta violence and has not affected oil production. Output from Africa’s top producer is down around a fifth due to militant attacks and damage to Shell-operated facilities.

Force majeure remains on tanker exports from the Forcados and EA terminals, while 495,000 barrels of oil per day production is shut in.

Nigeria has asked oil companies to decrease production by around 5% to prevent oil prices from falling further as part of a wider stand with other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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