Nigerian militants tonight threatened to attack Chevron’s Tank Farm at Escravos in Delta State, urging workers to evacuate the facility which also serves as the operational headquarters in the Niger Delta for the US major.
Mortar attacks on the plant by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) will take place in the early morning of 1 October, according to a statement issued to the media by pseudonymous spokesman Jomo Gbomo.
Mend insists that its plan to eliminate Nigerian oil production altogether by sabotaging the pipeline network is having cumulative success.
“We will continue to turn a blind eye to the crude oil merchants passing through our territories because their activities, apart from the tolls paid us, is helping us to achieve our objectives of zero oil output by 2015.
Many local activists believe Mend no longer has the capacity to mount a sustained offensive by well-resourced militia, while others insist it has regrouped to locations deeper into the oil creeks beyond easy reach of the Naval forces and military Joint Task Force.
Nigerian oil output currently hovers around 2 million barrels a day.
While militant groups associated with Mend have in recent years followed through on general threats against installations, they have stopped short of conducting intensive campaigns of the kind which brought production down to one million barrels a day.
Unrest in the Niger Delta is said to have prompted all the majors in the oilpatch to divest selected assets to indigenous operators, especially Shell which has conducted three divestment programmes in the western Delta.