Two workers from Eni's Nigerian Agip Operating Co. (NAOC) subsidiary were killed in an attack on their boat in the Niger Delta last week, the operator has confirmed.
According to reports, a NAOC team of five was attacked on their way to a well location to do a routine operation in the Nembe area.
Three of them managed to escape to a nearby flow station while the other two were declared missing. Their bodies were found two days later. Investigations with Security Agencies have been launched and are ongoing, it is understood.
The violence is that latest in a string of attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, mostly thought to be led by the so-called Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). However, it is not clear that the attack on the NAOC workers was by the NDA, which usually claims responsibility for attacks through social media accounts - although Twitter has recently suspended the group's account on its platform.
The NDA, which started attacking oil facilities earlier this year, including Shell's Forcados terminal pipelines, Chevron's Okan platform and Chevron wells and a pipeline, said it was responsible for five attacks on pipelines and facilities over the weekend in the delta, according to a Reuters report late on July 3.
The attacks, in which no injuries were reported, were the first which the NDA had claimed as theirs since June 16. Mid June, a 30-day truce had been declared, although the NDA hadn't signed up to it.
Nigeria's oil production has plummeted as a result of the actions of the NDA. On 18 May, Nigeria's oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu reported that production had fallen 40% from 2.2 MMb/d to 1.4 MMb/d, the lowest level since the mid-1990s.
NAOC operates in the land and swamp areas of the Niger Delta, under a joint venture agreement with NNPC (60%), NAOC (20%), and Oando (20%), with concessions lying within Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. The concession covers a total area of 5313sq km comprising four blocks - OML 60, 61, 62 & 63.
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Image: Niger Delta oil infrastructure from Diercke International Atlas.