Monday, September 22, 2008

Nigerian militants halt 'oil war'

Nigeria's main militant group has declared a ceasefire, following a week of attacks on oil installations in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) said it had taken the decision after appeals from tribal leaders in the region.

But it warned it would end the truce if attacked by the army again.

Nigerian militants halt 'oil war'

Mend declared "war" on Nigeria's oil industry last Sunday after a fierce military raid on one of its bases.

Groups such as Mend claim to be fighting for greater control over oil wealth in the impoverished Niger Delta, but they are accused of making money from criminal rackets and trade in stolen oil.

The militants say they are fighting to bring more money to the Niger Delta.

Source: BBC News report Nigerian militants halt 'oil war' September 22, 2008. Photo credit AFP/BBC


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Third attack in 48 hours on a Shell installation in Nigeria

Armed group claims third attack in 48 hours on oil installations.

The claim came days after the group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), declared an "oil war" on foreign companies working in the country.

"A very major trunk crude oil pipeline we believe may belong to both Agip and Shell has been blown up today," the group said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

It is the third attack in 48 hours on a Shell installation.

Shell facility attacked in Nigeria

Photo: A number of armed groups have attacked major oil pipelines in the Niger Delta (AFP/Al Jazeera)

Sarah Simpson, a journalist reporting from Lagos, told Al Jazeera: "Shell are still investigating into Mend's report, but they are not yet able to comment on the situation.

"If indeed there has been an attack, it could be a significant pipeline. Most likely a pipeline carrying crude oil, which could affect Nigeria's oil exports.

"Mend's reports have been quite accurate in the past," she said.

Shell facility attacked in Nigeria

Photo: Mend uses gunboats in attacking pipelines in the region (AFP/Al Jazeera)

Mend said it had destroyed the Orubiri flow station on Tuesday with the help of another armed group, the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF).

A Nigerian military spokesman confirmed to Reuters news agency on Wednesday that there had been an attack on Royal Dutch Shell's oil flow station on Tuesday.

"It is feared the facility may have caught fire due to intense, sporadic gunshots and massive dynamite and bomb explosions," Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa said.

Source: AL JAZEERA ENGLISH 17/9/08 - Shell facility attacked in Nigeria


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Solar in Africa or falling back in love with oil? - Sharia courts operating in Britain

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have supported plans to build a 45 billion Euro ($64 billion) "super grid" that would connect renewable energy resources across Europe and Africa.

Read more in a report by Ben Block at World Changing, September 12, 2008 - African Renewable Energy Gains Attention. Excerpt:
The potential for renewable energy development in Africa is experiencing an increase in attention lately as investors and world leaders seek a new clean energy frontier.

The continent could become a gold mine for renewable energy due to abundant solar and wind resources. But roadblocks to clean energy worldwide are amplified throughout the troubled regions of Africa - financial resources are thin and infrastructure is often unreliable.

Solar in Africa.jpg

A researcher from the European Commission's Institute for Energy reported earlier this year that 0.3 percent of the sunlight that shines on the Sahara and Middle East deserts could supply all of Europe's energy needs. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have supported plans to build a 45 billion Euro ($64 billion) "super grid" that would connect renewable energy resources across Europe and Africa.

Along the Great Rift Valley - a 6,000 kilometer terrain stretching from Syria to Mozambique - a huge amount of untapped geothermal energy may soon be developed. In June, Kenya announced that it would install some 1,700 megawatts of geothermal capacity within the next 10 years - 150 percent of the country's total electricity generating capacity. Djibouti plans to supply nearly all of its electricity needs through geothermal energy, with the help of Reykjavik Energy Invest and the World Bank.
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Here is an excerpt from today's Snowmail, just in - courtesy of UK Channel 4 News' Jon Snow - Wednesday 17 September 2008:
One last thought: OIL. Have you noticed how it's crashed from $140 a barrel to around $90 in just three months? All those weeks ago, at the beginning of the hike in prices, I asked one of the foremost oilmen, Sir Mark Moody Stewart, formerly head of Shell, now on the board of the Saudi state oil company Aramco, what it was all about.

"Not the oil supply" he said. "There's plenty of it... not India or China either
they amount to 2 per cent of the market
this is about sentiment and speculation."

So there you have it. Having grown tired of the money markets and the rest, the hedge funds and private equity characters and the rest had bundled out of Wall Street into commodities, particularly oil. Now they are back with their first love, barracuda attacks on rivals in the markets, and - hey presto! - having left the oil speculation game, the price of oil falls.

Gotta run see you at seven, Best, Jon
At the time of sending the FTSE-100 index was: 4956.70
The US Dollar to Sterling was: 1.79535
The Euro to Sterling was: 1.26780

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PS If you want to reply to Snowmail please email and put Snowmail in the subject header.

PPS Sharia courts have been operating in Britain for over a year it has emerged.
Source: Telegraph News - Sharia courts operating in Britain September 14, 2008

[Cross posted to parent site Sudan Watch]


Map of attacks and LRA base - DR Congo's army has sent 200 troops to Dungu, DRC

Earlier this month, the Democratic Republic of Congo's army and the UN began a military operation to try to contain the activities of Ugandan LRA terrorist group leader Joseph Kony.

Map of LRA bases & attacks

Source: BBC News 'Rebel leader targeted in DR Congo' report dated Monday, 8 September 2008. Excerpts:
The campaign follows failed attempts to negotiate an end to the rebellion by his Lord's Resistance Army.

Congo's army has sent 200 troops to the northern town of Dungu, where hundreds have sought refuge from the LRA.

The LRA fought a 20-year war against the government in northern Uganda. Some two million people were displaced.
Note, the report says Mr Kony is thought to have been rebuilding his forces.

Also note, as stated at my sites Uganda Watch, Congo Watch and Sudan Watch many times before, the USA treats the LRA as a terrorist organisation and, in my view, rightly so.

One wonders about the financing and arming of the LRA over the past 20 years. How come, in this day age, the sources of funding, armaments and munitions for African rebel groups manage to remain such a secret over past twenty years? I wish professional journalists would tell us because it would help make sense of what is going on in and around Africa and why.

[Cross posted to parent site Sudan Watch and sister sites Uganda Watch, Congo Watch, Niger Watch]

Maps of Niger

Map of Niger

Courtesy Google September 2008
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Map of Niger

hat tip
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Map of Niger

Courtesy Google September 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

EU to help Africa expand energy sector

Report from the EU Observer September 9, 2008:
The EU is to help African countries expand their electricity networks and promote energy interconnections between Africa and the EU, such as a Trans-Saharan gas pipeline.

The EU aid will amount to €1 billion for a period of two years, the European Commission and the African Union announced in a joint statement on Monday (8 September).

The joint statement was signed on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by EU Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, EU development commissioner Louis Michel and African Union (AU) commissioner for infrastructure and energy, Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim of Egypt.

It is the first concrete step to implementing the Africa-EU partnership, which was agreed in December 2007, according to a commission statement, which stressed "the urgent need to promote Africa electrification."

The EU is to offer technical assistance worth €10 million to African utility regulators, the statement adds.

A further priority of the Africa-EU energy partnership is to be the development of oil and gas pipelines between African countries, but also between Africa and the EU, such as the €9 billion Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline, planned to transport up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe via Nigeria, Niger and Algeria by 2015.

The EU and AU commissioners also agreed to increase transparency, elaborate a road map for the launch and implementation of a renewable energy co-operation programme and support for Africa's participation in the Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership of oil and gas producing countries.

The joint statement calls upon the European countries and the private sector "to further mobilise resources for investment in energy sector" on both the supply and demand side.

The EU will also provide additional contributions to the EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and its Trust Fund, while the AU commission confirmed its "willingness" to further progress in the implementation of the €55 million European Commission support programme for the period 2007-2011 for the energy sector.

Despite the announcement, however, the International Energy Agency has earlier warned that Africa needs to spend an estimated €400 billion by 2030 to generate an additional 260,000 MW of power.

A next meeting on the Africa-EU energy partnership will take place on 1 October in Brussels.
Source: EU Observer

Nigeria militants warn of oil war

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) say they are fighting to bring more money to the Niger Delta.

Source: BBC report Sunday 14 September 2008 -

Nigeria militants warn of oil war
Militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region say they have "declared war" on the government after battling security forces guarding facilities.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) said it was responding to attacks by the military.

The military said it had repelled several Mend attacks. Both sides say their opponents suffered heavy losses.

Mend's violent campaign for a bigger part of the area's oil wealth has cut Nigeria's oil output by more than 20%.

Mend militants are the largest of several armed groups operating in the impoverished delta region. They frequently kidnap foreign oil workers and sabotage oil installations and pipelines.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'adua is under pressure to crack down on the militants and make the delta safer for international oil firms.

Lawless region

In an email released by Mend, the group said it had launched an "oil war" on the government in response to what it described as unprovoked aerial attacks on its bases in the Niger Delta.

The group said its heavily-armed fighters had fanned out in hundreds of boats to attack oil installations in Rivers state.

"The operation will continue until the government of Nigeria appreciates that the solution to peace in the Niger Delta is justice, respect and dialogue," the group said.

An oil platform at Kula, operated by oil giant Chevron, was among the facilities targeted, Mend said, adding that 22 Nigerian troops had been killed in the attack.

A Nigerian military spokesman said they had repelled an attack on an oil platform operated by the US company, Chevron. He said the militants had suffered heavy casualties.

The Niger Delta region is the source of most of the Nigerian government's income, yet it remains blighted by poverty and corruption.