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Shell contains Nigeria oil spill caused by sabotage

Reuters

Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:58pm EST

By Segun Owen

 

YENAGOA, Nigeria, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Saboteurs used a hack-saw to cut through a Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote,ProfileResearchStock Buzz) oil pipeline in southern Nigeria but the Anglo-Dutch giant said on Thursday it had managed to contain the resulting spill.

Shell said the damage to the Adibawa delivery pipeline in the Okordia-Zarama community in Bayelsa state was reported on Tuesday and a team of investigators was sent to the location to determine the cause of the spill.

“They determined that the spill was caused by sabotage. There was a hack-saw on the delivery line,” a Shell spokesman in Nigeria said. It was not clear who was behind the attack.

“The same line was sabotaged nine times between January and June this year. Last year, it was sabotaged 10 times,” he said.

The line was clamped and the spill stopped on Wednesday, while a clean up of the area is in progress, the spokesman said. He declined to give details of the volume of the spill or the export terminal that the pipeline feeds.

Shell, formerly Nigeria’s biggest oil producer, has been the hardest hit by a campaign of sabotage launched by militants more than two years ago which has slashed output from Africa’s biggest oil industry by at least a fifth.

Shell’s Nembe Creek trunk line, which carries 130,000 barrels of crude a day to the Bonny export terminal, was attacked in May by the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militant group, leading to a spill.

Crime and militancy are intertwined in the Niger Delta, which pumps nearly all of the oil output from the world’s eighth biggest crude exporter. Pipelines are often damaged by criminal gangs trying to steal crude destined for a booming black market.

Security experts say local communities also sometimes sabotage oil facilities in their areas to force the multinationals to pay them compensation.

Foreign oil companies and the government have engaged local communities in some areas of the delta in protecting pipelines in an effort to stem the vandalism. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ ) (Writing by Tume Ahemba; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

 

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