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Men disguised as maintenance workers for Nigeria’s state-run energy company attacked a pipeline in Ogun state Tuesday night, according to local media reports.
The attack in the southwestern region of the country represents the latest in a string of assaults against the developing country’s oil and gas-related revenues. The explosions have caused Nigerian crude production rates to drop to 30-year lows, according to Reuters.
Previous campaigns have been linked to separatists known as the Niger Delta Avengers, though the Ogun state sits outside of the Delta region for which the NDA demands independence.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, though local police forces cited “insinuations that militants could be responsible.”
An attack by the Niger Delta Avengers earlier this week set back Nigerian oil production by 10,000 barrels per day, according to a previous Oilprice.com report.
That incident took place late Sunday evening and targeted a pipeline run by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and damaged truck lines that link terminals for Brass and Bonny crude oil warehouses.
Nigerian oil officials had said earlier that pipeline repairs in the Niger River Delta could help the country recover its lost production rate in the coming months, according to Reuters.
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One week prior to the government’s optimistic announcement, production had spiked from 1.6 million barrels per day to 1.9 million bpd as several days had passed without attacks from the Niger Delta Avengers or related separatist groups, said Garba Deen Muhammad, a spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
"Production has increased because we are making repairs to damaged pipelines and installations. And we have not had any major attacks in recent times," he said.
The militants demand that a greater share of Nigeria's oil wealth go to the impoverished Delta region – the source of a large portion of the west African country’s energy resources. These goals have led the groups to carry out a series of pipeline attacks in the last few months.
The groups - which promise to attack only oil-related properties, not civilians – have caused Nigeria to lose its position as the continent’s largest energy supplier to Angola.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…