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International Herald Tribune: Shell oil installation attacked in southern Nigeria

The Associated Press
Published: 2006-12-15 01:30:13

YENAGOA, Nigeria: Armed men attacked a southern Nigerian oil installation owned by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC overnight, a local leader said Friday.

Joshua Benemesia, a local chief who has mediated hostage negotiations in the oil-rich delta region, said at least one man was shot in the attack.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or hostage-takings, he said. Benemesia did not provide details on how many attackers were involved or what type of oil facility was targeted.

Such attacks have become common in the southern river delta of Africa’s largest crude producer. Assailants have ranged from militants saying they are fighting for the freedom of their imprisoned leaders and a greater share of oil wealth to criminal gangs looking for quick ransom from hostages.

Attacks on pipelines and oil facilities have cut the country’s usual daily output of 2.5 million barrels by about a quarter this year.

Nigeria is the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States, and attacks in the Niger river delta have often moved world oil markets.

This latest incident occurred as the oil-exporting cartel OPEC wrapped up a meeting in Nigeria’s far-off capital, Abuja. On Thursday, the group said it planned to output cut in early 2007, pushing oil prices above US$62 a barrel.

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