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Shell shut down Escravos flow station over protest

Royal Dutch Shell has shut down an Escravos crude oil flow station located in the Niger Delta region after villagers staged a protest on Wednesday.

In another blow to the oil major, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group said it had attacked the Forcados crude export line.

Shell said the flow station on the pipeline operated by its joint-venture partner SPDC was no longer processing crude oil, but the impact on Escravos exports, which can run via other routes, was not immediately clear.

Protest leader, Shyne Edema, said his group was demonstrating at the facility, shutting down power and water supplies as well as crude production, to press Shell into providing aid.

“Today is the eighth day of the protest. We have laid siege at the facility from dusk to dawn since then. We are there now as I speak,” he said.

He said the protesters complained about Shell’s “neglect of its social responsibility of providing good roads, water and electricity for its host communities where none of these things exist.”

But Shell said it was engaging the Delta state government and local leaders to discuss the grievances.

“SPDC provides power to Ugborodo communities through company-maintained diesel generating sets, pending the completion of the electricity project for the communities,” Shell said.

One of the most active militant groups, the NDA, confirmed to Reuters by email that it had attacked Shell’s Forcados export pipeline. On Twitter, the group said the strike occurred on Tuesday at 1045 p.m. local time.

A community leader, Chief New-World Endoro, said there was an oil spill at the site of the attack. Soldiers were now patrolling the area, he added.

Several attacks have been claimed on the pipeline since President Muhammadu Buhari met last week with community leaders and representatives of militants to address complaints of poverty.

An attack last week forced the closure of the Trans Forcados Pipeline, cutting the OPEC member’s oil production by at least 200,000 barrels per day.