ABUJA (Reuters) - The Niger Delta Avengers militant group on Wednesday rejected an offer of talks with the government to end its attacks on oil facilities and also said it had blown up a Chevron well in the delta.
Attacks by militants on oil and gas pipelines in the southern Delta swamps have brought Nigeria's oil output to a 20-year lows and helped to push oil prices to 2016 highs on Tuesday. [O/R]
Nigeria's oil minister had said on Tuesday the government would start talks with the Niger Delta Avengers which has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in the Delta.
The Niger Delta Avengers rejected the offer of talks on its Twitter account. "We're not negotiating with any committee," the group said. "If the Fed (Federal) Govt (Government) is discussing with any group they're doing that on their own."
The Avengers said it had blown up a Chevron well called "RMP 20" located next to the Dibbi flow station in the Warri area in the Delta at 0100 a.m. local time. It has previously attacked Chevron, Shell and ENI facilities.
"The attack on Chevron's RMP 20 is confirmed," said local community leader Chief Godspower Gbenekema. "The place is on fire." Chevron, citing long-standing policy, declined to comment.
While Chevron is the third-largest oil producer in Nigeria, its biggest production streams are offshore, which has mitigated the immediate impact on oil output from the spate of attacks on its infrastructure.
A group of former Niger Delta militant leaders issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the actions of the Avengers and urging them and other groups to "re-consider their activities".
"We enjoin our brothers to give peace a chance, lay down their arms and accept the offer for a meaningful dialogue," said the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing, in Abuja, and Tife Owolabi, in Yenagoa and Anamesere Igboeroteonwu, in Onitsha and Libby George, in London; Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Jane Merriman and William Hardy)