Viewing cable 03LAGOS624

03LAGOS6242003-03-24 06:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Consulate Lagos
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1.   (SBU)  Proprietary information please hold closely. 
¶2.   (SBU)  Summary.   The situation at ChevronTexaco's 
Escravos compound has deteriorated markedly since the March 
20 arrival of government troops to quell the confrontation 
between Ijaw and Itsikiri villagers over local political 
power.  Approximately 100 Amcits are inside of the compound 
along with another 100 expatriates, 1800 Nigerian employees, 
and 900 (of an original 2000) Itsikiri displaced persons 
(DP).   An unspecified number of Nigerian troops have also 
taken refuge inside the compound, having been surprised at 
how well the Ijaw villagers outside the compound are armed. 
The company hopes to evacuate all of its employees and the 
displaced persons via two Antonovs that are scheduled to 
arrive sometime tomorrow from South Africa.  There have been 
no injuries since March 17 when one Nigerian catering 
contractor was killed and one injured.  ChevronTexaco's 
onshore and swamp 140,000 bpd production has ceased and 
plans are to gradually shut down the remaining 300,000 bpd. 
(Note:  Omole asked that this last figure be treated as 
confidential.)  ChevronTexaco's security Manager has 
indicated that the company may ask for USG assistance in 
approaching the GON if the situation does not improve by 
Saturday, March 22.  End Summary. 
¶3.   (SBU)  On March 21 at 1440, Sola Omole, General 
Manager, Government and Public Affairs Department for 
ChevronTexaco called Econoff to report on the escalating 
tensions between warring villagers around ChevronTexaco's 
Escravos Tank Farm and to ask for USG assistance in 
contacting the GON.  Omole reported that the Ijaws outside 
the compound and security forces inside were shooting at one 
another.  In a subsequent conversation,  ChevronTexaco's 
security manager Ray Keel  indicated that if the situation 
does not improve, the company might ask for USG help on 
Saturday, March 22.  As of 1800,  Chevron has shut down its 
onshore and swamp operations, halted the production of 
140,000 bpd of crude oil, and hopes to evacuate all of its 
non-essential personnel and the villagers who are seeking 
refuge on the compound. 
¶4.   (SBU)  Omole requested that the Ambassador use his 
office to intercede at the level of the Nigerian presidency. 
Although he was not specific about what he was asking for, 
Omole indicated that the situation in Escravos was 
deteriorating.   (Comment:  We learned in a subsequent 
conversation that the President had been informed of 
ChevronTexaco's situation through Carl Masters, an associate 
of  former Ambassador Andrew Young.  End comment.)   Omole 
also spoke to the British High Commissioner. 
¶5.    (SBU) ConGen RSO met with ChevronTexaco security 
officers who largely confirmed Omole's assessment of the 
situation.   The Safety Manager told the CG and the RSO that 
he is considering asking the Ambassador for assistance, but 
the company was also approaching the government from other 
angles.  Later, Keel told CG that the company has contacted 
NNPC and the Nigerian military.  If these representations 
prove unsuccessful by tomorrow, the company may ask for USG 
assistance to press the government to stop the fighting. 
¶6.   (SBU)  In separate conversations, Keel told CG and RSO 
that the Ijaws are better armed with AK-47s and RPGs than 
anyone - including the Nigerian military - expected them to 
be.  Having caused the Nigerian security forces to retreat 
onto Chevron's property, the Ijaws are now accusing the 
company of colluding with their Itsikiri enemies who are 
also inside the compound. 
¶7.    (SBU)  Chevron is awaiting the arrival of two Antonovs 
(there were previous reports of a C-130) from South Africa 
via Uganda to evacuate the expatriates, the Nigerian staff, 
and the last 900 of the 2000 refugees remaining on its 
compound.  The planes are expected to arrive at the Escravos 
airstrip no sooner than Saturday, March 22.