Niger Delta Avengers, Nigeria’s newest militant group in the oil-rich region, has forced Royal Dutch Shell to evacuate most of its staff from a production facility.
The evacuation was carried out by three helicopters on Saturday. The exercise will continue on Sunday in the firm’s facilities across the Niger Delta region.
Saturday’s evacuation saw 98 key personnel on board were overseen by helicopters from Eja OML 79, run by Royal Dutch Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), where production of 90k barrels of oil per day has been halted.
Sources said that a small group of staff has been left on the platform to carry out skeletal operations. The staff and facility are offered protection by two gunboats belonging to the military Joint Taskforce of the Federal Government.
Close to Eja 79 is the Bonga Field, which has a larger production capacity and is operated by another Shell subsidiary, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO). Sources told SaharaReporters that some staff have been evacuated from Bonga while the wider security implication is being reviewed by the company.
Since the Niger Delta Avengers began attacking oil facilities in the region, they have hit an oil platform Okan field facility run by Chevron, resulting in the loss of gas supplies to power plants across Nigeria.
On Friday SaharaReporters reported, via tweets, that gas plants in Omotosho, Geregu, Ughelli, Olorunsogo and Egbin had to shut down as the main pipeline run by the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) was blown up. While Chevron sources said they could fix their issue in two weeks, the NGC may not be able to restore its gas link for a while.
The militants also blew up the oil pipeline that supplies crude to Warri and Kaduna refineries, therefore, crippling Nigeria’s ability to refine some four million gallons of gasoline per day.