LAGOS, Portugal, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers said it was the one responding to terrorism and tyranny with its latest attack on crude oil export pipeline.
The militant group said its rebel forces attacked an export pipeline controlled in part by a regional subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that has the capacity to carry as much as 300,000 barrels of oil per day.
"This is in response to the so-called Operations Sharkbite, an art of terrorism commissioned by the tyranny of the Nigerian Navy establishment and orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to addressing the legitimate demands of the people of the Niger Delta," spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo said in a statement.
The NDA accuses the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil and gas interests over the interests of the people in the Niger Delta and its campaign has been blamed for pushing total Nigerian crude oil production to a 30-year low this year.
Agbinibo says the Buhari administration needs its support more than the other way around when it comes to the production and export of crude oil.
Slipping into a formal recession in late August, the Nigerian government said the contribution of oil to economic growth slipped slightly more than 2 percent. The government's Bureau of Statistics said the economy, measured by gross domestic product, declined 2 percent year-on-year.
"We are only reiterating our strong resolve that, time is running against the Nigerian government, that there is doom ahead," Agbinido said.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. said it lost out on hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil due to unrest and banditry. A budget, meanwhile, from the government in Abuja is based on production of around 2.2 million barrels per day. Nigeria told the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month it produced around 1.5 million bpd.
Nigeria wants an exemption from a proposed production ceiling coordinated last month by OPEC members. Its economy has flirted with recession amid the dual strains from militants and lower crude oil prices. Oil contributed about 10 percent to the country's GPD.