Oil companies and even Nigerian officials are losing faith in a deal anytime soon with militants who have slashed the nation’s oil output, casting doubt on a production recovery in what is typically Africa’s largest oil exporter, Reuters reports.
On Sunday, the Niger Delta Avengers militants, which have claimed several major pipeline attacks, said in a statement they were ready to give dialogue a chance. But highlighting the fracturing of militants into small groups, the previous day a group called Niger Delta Green Justice Mandate claimed an attack on a gas pipeline in the southern swamps lands. Without a unified command and groups dominated by “generals” unable to fully control their own fighters, it is difficult for the government to identify the right people to talk to or enforce any holistic ceasefire.
“People are giving up in the short term,” one oil industry source said with regard to a quick resumption in exports of key Nigerian grades such as Forcados or Qua Iboe, adding you “can’t get anything” out of the majors, including Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil or ENI, about when the oil might come back. “With the Avengers, you don’t want to say ‘we’ll be back up next Wednesday’, because then you’ll get a bomb next Tuesday,” one oil executive said. “They have to be careful.”