22 October 2013 – Rebels in the Niger Delta are planning to ramp up a violent campaign against oil-production facilities in Nigeria, with offshore fields being the likely targets, according to a report.
“Offshore operations are not a safe haven,” a spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) told Bloomberg in an email.
Mend attacked the Shell-operated Bonga floating production, storage and offloading facility in 2008 and caused a temporary closure. The field could again be in the rebel group’s sights.
“Mend has visited Bonga before and we will do it again when the time is right,” the news wire reported the group as saying.
Bonga, Nigeria’s first deep-water discovery, is located about 120 kilometres off Nigeria’s coast and the FPSO has the capacity to produce 220,000 barrels per day of oil, equivalent to about 10% of the country’s crude output.
Shell declined to comment based on the Anglo-Dutch supermajor’s policy of not commenting on security issues.
Mend has been attacking oil facilities in Nigeria since April as part of its so-called “Hurricane Exodus” programme of disruption.
“Hurricane Exodus continues to gather strength as it sweeps through the swamps and creeks in the Niger Delta leaving seriously damaged the Trans Niger and Feeder pipelines, harassed security operatives and scurrying oil workers in its wake,” Mend told Bloomberg.
Shell is starting to solicit bids from contractors to add another newbuild FPSO to the field as part of its massive Bonga Southwest-Aparo project.
First oil from the new FPSO could flow in 2018 to 2020, depending on the timing of project sanction.
*Luke Johnson, Upstreamonline