Port Harcourt, Nigeria | – Four officers from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were killed yesterday by unidentified gunmen while on duty guarding an oil and gas facility operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company. The nature of the facility remained undisclosed.
The NSCDC personnel were dispatched to the facility following a warning that an attack on the pipeline was being prepared. The local commandant of the NSCDC told the media that she had sent a request to the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta to provide reinforcements, but the attack came before help arrived.
Initially, according to the spokesperson for the NSCDC in Rivers State, Michael Oguntuase, the corps officers thought that the gunmen, in full military gear, were the reinforcement from the JMTF. It was only after they opened fire that they realized they were militants.
This is the latest entry in a long list of attacks on Nigerian oil and gas infrastructure, despite a ceasefire agreed by the federal government and the Niger Delta Avengers, the most active among the many militant groups in the region.
The NDA itself broke the ceasefire before its 60 days were up, claiming the presence of the military in the Delta aggravated the situation and only incited the local rebels to more violence.
Just last week, a bombing of the Trans-Forcados pipeline, just two days after force majeure was lifted from it, incapacitated the facility yet again. This will directly affect total Nigerian crude production, which was in the process of recovering: Forcados transports 150,000-200,000 bpd to an export terminal on the coast.
In late October, the NDA bombed the Escravos pipeline, warning the company to not try and repair it.
Nigeria, which is fighting a deep recession as a result of the oil price crash and production woes, has been exempted from the OPEC production cut negotiations due to the loss of market share.