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Nigerian rebels claim attack on major Shell pipeline

Reuters: Nigerian rebels say attack major Shell pipeline

Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:24am

(adds Shell spokeswoman comment)

LAGOS, April 18 (Reuters) – Rebels in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta said on Friday they sabotaged a major pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), and a company spokeswoman said it was investigating reports of an explosion.

A statement from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it attacked the Shell pipeline, which crosses from the Cawthorne Channel to the Bonny terminal, at Adamakiri in Rivers state late on Thursday.

“We have decided to step up our attacks ahead of schedule and there will be many more to follow,” the group said.

A spokeswoman for Shell — the company which has been worst hit by Niger Delta violence — could not immediately confirm whether an attack had taken place.

“Shell Petroleum Development Corporation received a report of an explosion in the Cawthorne Channel area yesterday. The report is being investigated and further information will follow when available,” said spokeswoman Caroline Wittgen.

MEND announced in September it would recommence attacks on oil installations and abduction of expatriates following the arrest of one of its leaders, Henry Okah, on arms trafficking charges in Angola. His trial began this month.

Shell is producing around 400,000 barrels per day below its full capacity from Nigeria because of attacks and kidnappings by MEND since 2006 that have contributed to a rise in world oil prices.

In recent months, the group has not carried out any attacks which have had a further significant impact on oil production.

The rebel group, which demands greater regional control over the Delta’s oil wealth, has been riven by factional rivalries. Some of its leaders have expressed willingness to return to peace talks with President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ ) (Reporting by Daniel Flynn; editing by James Jukwey)

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http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSL1889309520080418?sp=true

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