THE row between Niger Delta Avengers, NDA and ExxonMobil over alleged bombing, last Monday, of the company’s Que Iboe 48-inch Crude Oil Export Pipeline degenerated weekend, as the militant group threatened to target the company’s workers instead of blowing up its facilities.
NDA also renewed its warning to oil companies operating in the region not to repair any of its facilities blown up by the militants or face dire consequences for disobedience. Avengers, ExxonMobil row started on Tuesday, about 24 hours after the militant group claimed to have bombed the company’s 48-inch crude export line in Akwa Ibom state when the company’s spokesperson, Todd Spitler, July 12, said: “There was no attack on our facilities.”
The group, which earlier claimed responsibility for the June 11 attack, replied through its spokesperson, self-styled Brig Gen Mudoch Agbinibo: “ExxonMobil can deny and fool the general public about their Export Pipeline blown yesterday. How long can they lie to their investors?
Just in matter of days, the whole world will see the truth. Qua Iboe 48” crude oil export pipeline is down so said the Avengers.” ExxonMobil further refuted the claim on Friday, describing what happened as a “system anomaly’
Responding to the second denial of the attack by the company, Avengers, in a statement, entitled, “ExxonMobil, stop deceiving the world,” asserted: “When we published that the Qua Iboe 48-inch crude oil export line was blown by us , ExxonMobil denied it, but now ExxonMobil has admitted that the 48” pipeline that Niger Delta Avengers blew up is “System Anomaly.”.
“We urged them to follow the path of safety by admitting it that was blown, but ExxonMobil not admitting it to their traders/international refineries is none of our business. It will become our business when ExxonMobil carries out repair work on the blown pipeline.
“When that time comes, it will not be ExxonMobil declaring force majeure, but it is going to be something worse,” NDA spokesperson, Agbinibo said, Friday. The militant group added: “ExxonMobil and Akwa Ibom government can deny Niger Delta Avengers is not in Akwa Ibom state but we want them to know that one of our elite strike teams is based in Akwa Ibom state.” “We are warning ExxonMobil not to carry out any repair work on the blown pipeline, if they refuse and go ahead with any repair work, something big and worse will happen.
“To the traders/international refineries doing business with them, do not let ExxonMobil deceive you that the repair work will take three to four weeks, with the level of damage. it will take them (ExxonMobil) months to fix it,” NDA said.
It stated: “What happened to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) crude oil export pipeline in Forcados is an example to all International Oil Companies, IOCs, no repair works until the federal government heed to our demands.” It warned: “If ExxonMobil fails to listen to us (Niger Delta Avengers), your personnel are going to be our next casualties, not pipelines.”
However, ExxonMobil declared a force majeure on exports of crude oil, last Friday, after observing a ‘system failure’ during a routine check of its loading facility, last Thursday, three days after Avengers bombed the facility.
“We are working to ensure loading activities at the facility return to normal. We cannot speculate on any timeline for repairs,” the company’s spokesperson, Spitler said, adding: “Qua Iboe Terminal is operating and production activities continues.” He, however, maintained that there was no connection between the force majeure and militant attacks.