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As oil-targeted militancy in Nigeria remerges to threaten the country’s entire industry and put significant amounts of oil offline, foreign operators in oil-rich Angola’s may be facing a similar threat.
On Tuesday, Reuters cited unidentified industry sources as saying that a rebel group raided a Chevron gas platform in late May, delivering a warning without launching an attack on the platform.
According to the Reuters report, a group of five rebels on speedboats boarded the offshore platform in the oil-rich province of Cabinda, warning foreign oil workers to leave the province, though Chevron has not confirmed the incident.
More than half of Angola’s oil output currently comes from Cabinda province, which is said to be heavily guarded against rebel attacks, with the government wielding greater security control than in Nigeria, where the Niger Delta Militants (NDA) are largely holding oil production hostage.
Reuters cited the Cabinda provincial governor as saying that the rebel group allegedly behind the raiding of the Chevron offshore platform—the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC)—does not exist.
At the same time, a spokesman for a FLEC faction, which earlier in February had said it was resuming its fight for independence, denied any involvement in the alleged Chevron raid.
A fragile peace agreement between the government and FLEC has been in place since 2007.
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However, the death of a key FLEC faction leader earlier this month in Paris, has analysts concerned that we could witness the rise of a rebel struggle for supremacy, centered on the province’s oil wealth—much as is emerging in the Niger Delta.
In 2010, FLEC rebels attacked a bus carrying a football team to the Africa Cup of Nations, killing three people. The group has also sporadically kidnapped foreign oil workers.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for US-based Divergente LLC consulting firm, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.