Citing possible terrorism, Nigerian media reported Wednesday an oil pipeline was on fire less than a day after the vice president was in an oil-rich region.
Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported an oil pipeline controlled by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Co. was on fire in the oil-rich Niger Delta, "sparking fears of attacks by suspected militants."
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and the newspaper said it couldn't verify the cause of the blaze, which was said to have been extinguished by midday Wednesday in Nigeria.
A militant group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers emerged last year with a campaign of violence aimed at pressuring the government to distribute the nation's oil wealth in a more equal fashion.
In an early January statement, the militant group said 2017 "will be filled with surprises and a reconfiguration of the struggle for the liberation of our motherland."
The militant group last took credit for a November attack on 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.
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 last year.
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. Nigeria is exempt from an agreement by other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to trim production because of ongoing militancy targeting its oil sector.
Sources reporting to OPEC said production from Nigeria declined by 6.8 percent to 1.5 million bpd. Nigeria told OPEC its production increased 26 percent to 1.9 million bpd.