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Oil Majors Quiet Amid Nigeria's Worsening Conflict
Oil Majors Quiet Amid Nigeria's Worsening Conflict

Oil Majors Quiet Amid Nigeria's Worsening Conflict

Oil Majors Quiet Amid Nigeria's Worsening Conflict

Oil companies and even Nigerian officials are losing faith in a deal anytime soon with militants who have slashed the nation's oil output, casting doubt on a production recovery in what is typically Africa's largest oil exporter.
In the six months since the first major attack on Nigeria's oil–a sophisticated bombing of the subsea Forcados pipeline–dozens of attacks have pushed outages to more than 700,000 barrels per day, the highest in seven years.
Talk in the country has shifted from ceasefire optimism and oil companies' assurances that repairs were underway, to hedged comments from the government and radio silence from oil majors, Reuters reported.
On Sunday, the Niger Delta Avengers militants, who have claimed several major pipeline attacks, said in a statement they were ready to give dialogue a chance.
But highlighting the fracturing of militants into small groups, the previous day a group called Niger Delta Green Justice Mandate claimed an attack on a gas pipeline in the southern swamps lands. Without a unified command and groups dominated by "generals" unable to fully control their own fighters, it is difficult for the government to identify the right people to talk to or enforce any ceasefire.
"People are giving up in the short term," one oil industry source said of a resumption in exports of key Nigerian grades such as Forcados or Qua Iboe, adding you "can't get anything" out of the majors, including Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil or ENI, about when the oil might come back. Shell declined to comment, while the other companies did not immediately responded to a request for comment.
In June, Nigerian government officials said privately it had a ceasefire with militants. But pessimism crept in, with even Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu telling journalists this week "we are talking but (it) is not an easy thing," and "we need a ceasefire"–a contrast to the belief that a ceasefire was underway.
Kachikwu also said another challenge to brokering a ceasefire is that there were several militant groups to talk to.

 

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