Gunmen have overrun a Nigerian oilfield station operated by Italy’s Eni, holding 24 local workers hostage, the company said.
The militants invaded the Ogbainbiri facility in Bayelsa state, which normally produces 40,000 barrels a day, after a gunfight with soldiers guarding it.
"Eni is already collaborating with the authorities of Bayelsa to find a solution as quickly as possible," a company spokeswoman said, adding that 24 Nigerian staff were being held at the facility.
It was unclear if anyone was killed or injured in the attack.
The spokeswoman did not say whether oil production had stopped, but it is routine practice to shut down a facility when it is attacked.
The invasion was apparently in response to the killing of eight people by troops guarding Ogbainbiri last week, security sources said.
The military said the dead were militants who tried to attack the oilfield, but a militant group said they were mostly unarmed civilians.
The clashes are a setback to a nascent peace initiative by the newly inaugurated President Umaru Yar’Adua and militants who have crippled Africa’s largest oil industry.