After a three-way meeting at the weekend with Nigerian government officials and local groups, Shell will start inspecting its facilities in the Western Niger Delta with a view to resuming 500,000 barrels per day of oil output. At the talks they agreed to start joint inspections of the Forcados and EA oilfields shut-down by a series of militant attacks in February.
“The agreement was that Shell can go back to the western Niger Delta where the security incidents have been,” a Shell source told Reuters. “It means we will go in and assess the extent of the damage to the facilities and determine the cleanup we have to do.”
The group attending the meeting was the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), which has been linked to the group that claimed responsibility for the February attacks — the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). FNDIC spokesman George Timinimi said Shell had agreed to provide power generators, while the government had promised water, roads and hospitals to riverine communities around the abandoned facilities as part of the deal.
“There is nobody who does not like development so if Shell makes an effort I don’t see MEND deterring it,” Timinimi said. However, MEND is said to remain opposed to the deal. “We will visit them at the appropriate time to formally welcome them back to those installations,” MEND said in an email to Reuters.