A relatively unknown group in the Niger Delta is threatening to stop production at oil facilities of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in the area, saying that a so-called ‘Operation Zero Barrels’ would begin at “any time from 00hrs on Wednesday, June 20.”
The group, Niger Delta Activists Forum (NDAF), says that it represents communities in the areas where NAOC—the Nigerian unit of Italy’s oil major Eni—operates, after the company had ignored a 14-day ultimatum to include community residents in its staff, according to the news outlet Sahara Reporters.
Nearly two weeks ago, the group NDAF threatened to shut down the oil flow installations of NAOC, accusing the company of sidelining the local youth in their recruitment programs. The local community group gave NAOC 14 days to induct and integrate the successful applicants, or it would shut down oil flows in the facilities located in the community.
NAOC operates in the land and swamp areas of the Niger Delta under joint venture agreements, with concessions in the Baylesa, Delta, Imo, and Rivers States. NAOC is the operator of two onshore exploration leases and is also a partner with a 5-percent stake in the SPDC joint venture operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Although Nigeria has managed to restore its oil production to around 1.8 million bpd, following major militant attacks on oil infrastructure in 2016—mostly by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA)—sabotages in parts of the oil-rich Niger Delta continue to plague its oil production and the oil majors operating there, a Shell executive said earlier this month.
Next month, Nigeria’s oil exports are expected to drop to their 2018 low—to just 1.43 million bpd in July, from 1.796 million bpd in June, partly due to a force majeure on Bonny Light cargoes, according to loading schedules seen by Reuters.