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Nigerian Oil Production Sinks To 20 Year Low As Militant Attacks Persist

Nigerian Police

The string of attacks by militants continue in the Niger Delta with four policemen having been killed by gunmen, days after a series of strikes that targeted oil platforms and prompted companies to start evacuating key staff from the region.

According to a Nigerian police spokesman, the four officers were killed in an ambush as they were heading for the Niger Delta city of Yenago. Police are still investigating the incident and it is not yet clear if the attack on the policemen is related to the series of attacks that have targeted oil infrastructure in Nigeria.

Those attacks have reportedly brought Nigerian oil production to a 20-year low.

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On Monday, Nigerian officials said that Chevron had begun to evacuate staff from its facilities in the Niger Delta amid rising number of attacks attributed to Niger Delta Avengers, a group of militants who have been pressing for a greater share of oil revenues.

“Our members have been evacuated from Chevron facilities, Shell facilities and from some independent oil companies and it’s very unfortunate,” Chika Onuegbu, the Rivers State chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, said, calling on a swift government response to the escalating violence.

Several Chevron facilities, such as a platform and oil flow station, were attacked by militants last week. The attacks also prompted Royal Dutch Shell to evacuate some 100 staff from a production facility in the region.

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The resurgence of these attacks worry analysts who fear a full scale is imminent in the Niger Delta. Many remember the similar wave of violence that struck the region between 2006 and 2009 and which only recessed following cash payments from the government in return to militants’ disarming. Apparently, the militants are now angered by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to scale back these allowances.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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