Search

 

Cablegate: Nigerian Local Violence Causes Minimal Impact

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS LAGOS 000568

SIPDIS


PARIS FOR OECD/IEA
TASHKENT FOR BURKHALTER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET ENRG EFIN ECON EINV PINS NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIAN LOCAL VIOLENCE CAUSES MINIMAL IMPACT
ON OIL PRODUCTION


1. Summary. A violent clash between local activists
and police left seven dead in Delta state late last
week. While Shell Oil moved non-essential staff from
pockets of disturbance, there appears to be no
disruption in oil production at this time. End
Summary.


2. A simmering dispute between Ijaw activists and the
government boiled over into a firefight late last week
in the swamps near the town of Warri in Delta state.
Reports indicate Ijaw youths from the village of
Okerenkoko blocked a river channel used by both local
residents and oil producers after the government failed
to meet their demands to withdraw troops from the area,
redraw electoral wards, and provide more oil revenue to
local communities. Organized loosely under the
umbrella group Ijaw Youth Council, headed by Bello
Oboko, who sources tell us is from Okerenkoko, the
youths refused to allow a military-escorted barge to
pass on its way to an oil installation. Gunfire
erupted, and various sources estimate four of the Ijaw
and three soldiers were killed. Reports that three
additional police officers were kidnapped during the
gun battle remain unconfirmed.


3. In response to this gunfight and the current tension
in outlying villages of Warri, Precious Omuku, Director
of External Relations for Shell Petroleum Development
Company of Nigeria, told Econoff that Shell has asked
workers deemed non-essential to return from field
operations to Warri for an undetermined period of time.
He stated that Shell does not feel its operations or
employees are under direct threat at this time, but
rather, the company is taking precautions to minimize
the number of its people in the field who might get
caught in the crossfire between Ijaw youths and
Nigerian police and soldiers. If violence escalates,
more personnel may be withdrawn to Warri. Because he
is away from corporate headquarters on a business trip
to Port Harcourt, Omuku would not comment with any
specificity as to whether oil production has been
impacted, but he doubted the shifting of non-essential
staff from remote locations to Warri would have any
serious effect on Shell output.


4. Sola Omole, General Manager of Government and Public
Affairs for ChevronTexaco, likewise reports that his
company is monitoring events in the region very
closely, but has taken no action in response to the
Okerenkoko clash. Over the weekend, a ChevronTexaco
vessel loaded with diesel fuel was captured and stolen,
but its crew was released unharmed. Omole attributes
this theft on the Ijaw youth blockade of Delta
waterways, but still maintains the company does not yet
feel targeted. He warns that the situation is very
fluid, but noted that even if ChevronTexaco crude
production in the area were to be disrupted, it amounts
to some fifteen percent of the company's output, and
which could be compensated for at other facilities, at
least as a short-term response.


5. Comment. In the run-up to the April elections,
incidents of inter-ethnic violence are bound to
persist, as loosely organized local groups vying for
power and money confront each other and the government,
at times with bloody consequences. While allocation of
oil revenue is a key component of many of these groups'
complaints, recent violence has not been focused
specifically on oil company facilities or their
personnel. Nonetheless, the companies will take
precautions as their facilities and workers can quickly
get caught in the midst of communal clashes or become
associated with what may be perceived as government
action or inaction. If the violence remains
decentralized and largely communal, crude oil
production should remain stable, as the GON frequently
makes up anticipated drops in any one company's monthly
production by increasing the output quota of other
companies, and none of the major producers have their
output flowing from only one region. At this time,
personal safety appears to be the greatest challenge
facing oil producers in Nigeria. End Comment.


HINSON-JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 



UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
More>>
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>


Ethiopia: Conflict, Drought, Dwindling Food Support, Threatens Lives Of 20 Million

Hunger is tightening its grip on more than 20 million Ethiopians who are facing conflict in the north, drought in the south and dwindling food and nutrition support beginning next month, the UN food relief agency warned on Thursday... More>>


UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>