YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Unknown attackers have blown up a gas pipeline belonging to Italy’s ENI in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, residents and the company said on Wednesday, the latest in a string of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the impoverished region.
The attack occurred on Tuesday in Ogbembiri in Bayelsa state, residents said. A wave of attacks in the Delta, where many complain of poverty despite sitting on much of Nigeria’s oil wealth, has cut oil output to 1.4 million from 2.2 million barrels per day.
“It is not clear if it is connected to militant activities or ordinary vandals or people paid by contractors to do so so as to get repair contracts,” said Eric Omare, a spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council, an umbrella organisation of youth groups in the southern region.
A spokesman for ENI said “sabotage” of the pipeline had affected 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers which says it wants a greater share of oil profits and independence for the swampy region has claimed several attacks.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has extended a multi-million dollar amnesty signed with militants in 2009 but upset them by ending generous pipeline protection contracts.
He also cut the amnesty budget by around 70 percent, which partly funds training for unemployed people.
Reporting by Tife Owolabi, Anamesere Igboeroteonwu and Stephen Jewkes; writing by Ulf Laessing; editing by Jason Neely