- Militants breach another trunkline in Delta
Ejiofor Alike in Lagos and Sylvester Idowu in Warri withi agency reports
Crude oil prices rose by two per cent yesterday after Venezuela reportedly hinted that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major oil producers could agree to output cuts and as clashes in Libya disrupted the country’s attempts to boost crude exports.
While global benchmark, Brent crude futures were up 2.1 per cent, at $46.75 a barrel, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose by 2.2 percent, to $44 per barrel.
Reuters reported that Brent had hit a two-week low last week and WTI fell to a five-week low on concerns about oversupply with more deliveries from Libya and Nigeria.
Clashes in Libya on Sunday, however, halted the loading of the first oil cargo from the port of Ras Lanuf as the state-run National Oil Corporation prepared to restart exports from the ports blockaded for several years.
Oil prices also rose after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that OPEC and other major oil producers were close to reaching a deal on price stability that could be announced later this month.
OPEC and non-OPEC members are to meet on the sidelines of an industry conference in Algeria next week for talks on the potentially freezing oil production.
OPEC members may call an extraordinary meeting to discuss oil prices if they reach consensus, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said on Sunday.
OPEC’s all-important policy meeting is due in November.
Analysts had persistently discounted the possibility that OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and Libya would agree to production curbs as they ramped up output to protect market share.
But with the Algiers talks approaching, some opinions were shifting.
During a visit to Algiers at the weekend, Barkindo had stated that OPEC members might call an extraordinary meeting to discuss oil prices if they reach consensus at an informal gathering in Algiers this month,
Barkindo said he was optimistic about the meeting in Algeria on Sept. 26-28 but added that the group is not seeking a definite price range for oil but stability for the market.
He had previously hinted that discussions in Algiers would be consultations and no major decisions would be made during talks with OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
“The informal gathering was proposed as a move to having an extraordinary meeting with the aim of taking decisions to stabilise the market,” Barkindo said.
Algeria’s Energy Minister Noureddine Bouterfa last week said there was a consensus among OPEC and non-OPEC members about the need to stabilise the oil market, and has been pushing for a price around $50 to $60 a barrel.
“Algeria has a proposal for participants in the Algiers meeting. Consultations with our partners show there is a consensus around the need to stabilise the market. That is already a positive,” Bouterfa said.
Russia, Iran and other major oil producers are due to take part in the Algiers meeting.
Meanwhile, militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) on Sunday night claimed it has breached the Afiesere-Ekiugbo delivery line in Ughelli, Delta State operated by NPDC-Shoreline.
It claimed that its Opudo Strike Force attacked the pipeline on Sunday at about 11.30 p.m, maintaining that the group’s Operation Crocodile Tears was not slowing down.
According to a statement signed by its Spokesperson, Aldo Agbalaja, the militant group said “the song will continue to play” and achieved its target until the Federal Government takes the proper steps.
“The Opudo strike force, at about 11:30 pm on Sunday, September 18, 2016, struck the Afiesere – Ekiugbo delivery line in Ughelli, operated by NPDC/Shoreline.
“The Operation Crocodile Tears is not slowing down, but determined to achieve target. Until the federal government takes the proper steps, this song will continue to play”, it said.
THISDAY checks within the security circles confirmed that the trunkline was indeed breached and that efforts were on to apprehend the masterminds.
NDGJM emphasised that Operation Crocodile Smile was nothing but a scam, some jumbled job, sewn together to retire some recently embezzled military budget adding “were it a serious endeavour, as the entire military system has sought to bamboozle Nigerians and the entire world to believe, the half-baked operation would have at least been reaping marginal results, asides those wrong arrests, lacking in intelligence, that it had realised.
“This is to you, Gen Buratai, let your crocodile continue to smile, your time for reconning is at hand, probably by the time the smiley crocodile finally sinks, you will see its tears and blood. Under your nose, the very task of guarding oil assets (which we consider a waste of time, resources and a failure of priorities) will fail because you are both insincere and incompetent”, it stated.
NDGJM said its mandate was just starting, noting that the Army Chief would soon see what it has in stock for further destruction of oil facilities in the region.
It declared: “The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is just starting, you are yet to see what we are about, by the time the alpha operations are initiated, you will need more than these fighter jets to keep your troops safe in any part of the Niger Delta”.
The militant group warned oil companies not to place their trusts in the guns and fighter jets of the Nigerian armed forces, stressing that it was a reflection of their mindset towards the people of the region.
“To the oil and gas companies. We have observed that you have placed your trust in the guns and fighter jets of the Nigerian armed forces, our words for you are few: keep at it and wait for your rewards, which have almost come upon you.
“It is a reflection of your minds towards our people, you obviously don’t believe that the people of these part are undeserving of good lives. You hide behind the guns of the oppressors to pillage our lands and our people, leaving us despoiled and our lands raped. You do all manners of things you will dare not imagine in other parts of the world where you operate.
“Here you have failed all basic corporate social responsibilities,
leaving the people to languish in lack and ruins. Continue with your insolence against our people, but we will vow to you today that we shall uproot every asset and facility you think you have secured with soldiers and their guns. SHORELINES, First Hydrocarbon, NPDC, Seplat, Total E&P, Shell, Agip, Saipem, Mobil and co wait for us, we are just coming out for you”, it added.