Suspected militants have bombed a state-run oil pipeline near the southern Nigerian oil hub of Warri in the latest blow to the industry, a security source and community leader said Wednesday.
The Trans Forcados export line was attacked late Tuesday, they said, just hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with representatives of militant groups in the oil-rich Niger delta to discuss how to end the unrest plaguing the region.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack.
“The attack was carried out with the aid of dynamite and it is coming less than 48 hours after the resumption of operations at the flow station,” a security official, who declined to be named, told AFP.
The pipeline was attacked in July and had only resumed operation at the weekend following repairs.
Dickson Ogugu, chairman of Batan community where the pipeline is based, confirmed the incident, saying a surveillance team had identified the site of the attack.
“The entire river is flooded with contents from the damaged trunkline and we are at the receiving end.”
The line is operated by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and receives crude from Batan near Warri.
Since February, several militant groups have attacked oil facilities, slashing the nation’s output and hammering revenues.
The groups claim to be seeking a fairer share of Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil wealth for residents of the region — as well as greater political autonomy.
Following peace talks in Abuja chaired Tuesday by the president, junior oil minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said the country’s oil production was returning to normal.
“The reality is that as of today and this morning, we are at 2.1 million barrels production. That’s substantial,” he said, adding that efforts to secure peace were succeeding.
Nigeria normally produces around 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), but output dropped to a low of 1.4 bpd this year due to rebel attacks.