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Shell Gas Plant in Nigeria Attacked by Militants




By Dulue Mbachu

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — Nigeria’s main militant group said it attacked a gas plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, attacked the Utorogun site today, it said in an e-mailed statement. Precious Okolobo, a Shell spokesman in Nigeria, confirmed the attack. “We’re carrying out checks on the plant,” Okolobo said by phone from Lagos.

MEND says it is fighting for the poor in the Niger Delta who have yet to benefit from the region’s oil wealth. Assaults by the group and other armed militants have cut Nigeria’s oil exports by more than 20 percent since 2006. The country holds Africa’s largest hydrocarbon reserves and is the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

Forces in charge of oil-region security “repelled the attackers,” killing three and capturing one, military spokesman Colonel Rabe Abubakar said by phone from the town of Warri in the delta, adding that the plant was undamaged. MEND said all its fighters had “returned to base.”

Utorogun produces 244 million standard cubic feet of gas a day, supplying power stations run by the state-owned utility and industrial users. The plant is part of a joint venture in which Shell owns 30 percent, Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. 55 percent, Total SA 10 percent and Eni SpA 5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dulue Mbachu in Lagos at[email protected]

Last Updated: February 7, 2009 12:29 EST

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