A crude oil pipeline in Nigeria’s southern state of Bayelsa was attacked on the 28th of January. The attack came a few days after another attack on a pipeline in Gbaramatu kingdom Delta state, in Nigeria, reported Reuters .
The pipeline was operated by Agip Oil Company (NAOC) –the local subsidiary of Italy’s Eni.
The hits follow years of relative calm in the country’s oil-producing region after a 2009 amnesty halted a spate of attacks on oil installations and kidnappings of expatriate workers.
After years of relative calm, this is the second major attack on the OPEC member’s installations since an arrest warrant was issued in January for former militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, known as Tompolo.
Israel Sunny-Goli, a member of the Bayelsa State Assembly, said attackers hit a crude pipeline near Brass, a coastal city and site of a crude export terminal.
The lawmaker said the latest explosion coming after bombing of pipelines recently in the same axis was worrisome and capable of forcing oil companies out of operation.
According to Naij.com preliminary investigations showed that it was an act of sabotage carried out to hurt the economic interests of the state.
However, a spokesman for Nigeria’s state oil company said he could not yet say whether exports would be affected.
President Muhammadu Buhari won last year’s election on his vow to crush endemic corruption in the west African nation. Former government and military officials have already been charged, while Tompolo is the first high profile former militant which the security services have gone after.
Following the amnesty, many former leaders enriched themselves through lucrative pipeline protection contracts under previous president Goodluck Jonathan but oil theft reached an industrial scale.
Buhari can ill afford to start a conflict in the south with the military already stretched in the northeast fighting the Islamist jihadi group Boko Haram. The oil rich delta has been a source of tension since the presidency shifted to a northern Muslim.
Meanwhile, the federal government has displayed its commitment to wipe out pipeline vandalism in the country, Platts reported.