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Bloomberg: Eni Pipelines in Nigeria Attacked by MEND Militants (Update3)

By Julie Ziegler and Mathew Carr

May 8 (Bloomberg) — Three pipelines operated by a unit of Eni SpA and an export terminal in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa were shut down after an attack by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

The attacks closed the Brass export terminal, a facility run by Eni’s Agip unit that pumps about 200,000 barrels a day, Bayelsa state spokesman Ekiyor Welson said. Two of the pipelines were in the Akasa region, the other in Brass, according to a statement from MEND. The attacks cut off power at the Brass terminal, the statement said.

“We are moving on to other oil companies shortly,” MEND’s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, told Bloomberg News in an e-mailed statement. “The last days of this regime will see more pipeline destruction.”

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo will hand over power to Umaru Yar’Adua on May 29, after elections last month. The transfer will be the first handover from one civilian government to another since Nigeria won independence 47 years ago.

Eni confirmed that pipelines leading to the Brass export terminal from the Ogoda and Tebidaba facilities were sabotaged. The company stopped production at the Akri and Oshi fields, it said in a statement posted on its Web site. Eni didn’t say how much production capacity was affected.

Attacks Stepped Up

MEND has stepped up its attacks in the final days of the Obasanjo administration. On May 1, the group kidnapped six foreign employees of Chevron Corp.’s Nigeria unit. About 15,000 barrels of crude remain shut following the attack.

The group has attacked oil installations in the delta for the past year in a campaign to cripple Africa’s biggest oil industry. Its raids forced Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s unit in Nigeria to halt output of about 500,000 barrels a day, almost a quarter of the country’s production. The group has also abducted more than 30 expatriates. No hostages were taken in today’s attacks, Gbomo said.

MEND wants the government to cede control of the oil industry to Niger delta states where the crude is pumped. It also demands the release of Mujahid Dokubu Asari, a militia leader jailed on charges the of treason, and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa state who was impeached and arrested on money- laundering charges.

Communities in the Niger delta, a maze of creeks and rivers feeding into one of the world’s biggest remaining areas of mangroves, are among Nigeria’s poorest, a report funded by Shell said in 2004. Unemployment is over 90 percent in some areas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at [email protected] ; Julie Ziegler in Abuja at [email protected] .

Last Updated: May 8, 2007 07:52 EDT 

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