Viewing cable 04LAGOS1998
Title: DELTA VIOLENCE UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 29

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04LAGOS19982004-09-29 20:06:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Lagos
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

292006Z Sep 04
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 001998 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF/W 
STATE FOR EB/ESC/IEC/ENR/BLEVINE 
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF 
STAT FOR INR/AA 
STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS JBRODMAN AND CGAY 
STATE PASS TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS AND SRENENDER 
STATE PASS DOC PHUPER 
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2009 
TAGS: MOPS CASC EPET PGOV NI DELTAVIOLENCE
SUBJECT: DELTA VIOLENCE UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 29 
 
REF: A. LAGOS 1982 
 
     ¶B. LAGOS 1978 
     ¶C. ABUJA 1656 
     ¶D. ABUJA 1486 
     ¶E. LAGOS 1892 
     ¶F. LAGOS 1820 
 
Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for Reasons 1.5 (B & D) 
 
 Summary 
-------- 
 
¶1.  (C)  Given the significant international press 
coverage and the threats of Ijaw secession made by Niger 
Delta People's Volunteer Force (NPDVF) leader Alhaji Dokubo 
Asari, the National  Council of State authorized President 
Obasanjo to take strong actions against Delta militants and 
any other groups that pose a threat to national security. 
There are mixed reports on whether GON military engaged any 
delta militants today.  We continue to be in close contact 
with oil companies and AMCIT wardens. 
 
Security Update 
---------------- 
 
¶2.  (C) The Council of State authorized President Obasanjo to 
"deal with persons or groups whose activities or utterances 
threaten the sovereignty" of the country.  The authorization 
was hardly necessary as a practical matter.  Obasanjo does 
not need the NCS imprimatur.  However, it is symbolically 
important as it provides Obasanjo justification and political 
cover to handle the situation as he sees fit, which could 
include continuing and perhaps intensifying military 
operations if negotiations with Asari fail to yield 
dividends. 
 
¶3. (C) Shell Managing Director Basil Omiya told Consul 
General that the GON had opened discussions with the NPDVF. 
Omiya said initial read-outs from these discussions were 
positive.  Oyimi added that fighters were seen returning to 
their villages.  However, it is not clear whether they are 
returning to their villages for a brief rest before returning 
to the creeks or if they are laying down their arms. 
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil reported on-going military operations 
against militants, possibly resulting in some fatalities. 
 
Reports from the Energy Sector 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (C)  Shell: Shell's Managing Director (MD) reported 
general quiet within the Port Harcourt city environs, with no 
discernible change in the security situation from yesterday. 
Shell's Director for External Relations confirmed press 
reports of closure of the Santa Barbara flow station 
yesterday, as Shell staff were unable to visit the station to 
correct a technical problem.  This is the third Shell flow 
station affected by the security situation; stations at Soku 
and Ekulama were evacuated of non-essential staff, but still 
maintain production.  Production losses from Santa Barbara 
were already included in the reduction of approximately 
50,000 barrels/day reported yesterday. 
 
¶5. (C )AGIP/ENI: The General Manager (GM) for Public Affairs 
reported that AGIP has not evacuated any staff, despite 
threats by Asari against AGIP personnel.  AGIP production 
remains normal.  The GM indicated that AGIP maintains most of 
its flow stations in Bayelsa, with an additional two in Omuku 
and Ahoda. The editor of Nigerian publication, Oil and Gas 
monthly, told Consulate staff contrary to AGIP claims, he 
believes the company has begun evacuating some staff from the 
Delta region. 
 
¶6.  (C)  Chevron/Texaco: Chevron continues to monitor the 
security situation through its own security personnel and 
through their contacts with Nigerian military on the ground. 
Although not dismissing the threats, Chevron believes Asari 
is more bluster than anything else.  Nevertheless, Chevron is 
taking precautions.  Chevron gauges that Asari does not enjoy 
widespread popular support.  Chevron senses no agitation in 
the communities near its operations. (Comment: Human Rights 
NGOs and some other civil society groups maintain Asari 
enjoys considerable popular support.  They agree with 
Chevron's assertion that Asari has been adept at 
manipulating the international media. End Comment).  For 
October 1, the first day of the Asari's threat, Chevron has 
ordered all employees to work from home, but it expects to 
resume normal business operations the following business day. 
 
¶7.  (C) Exxon Mobil:  Exxon Mobil MD informed Consulate Lagos 
that their local contacts reported some skirmishes between 
the GON and militants in the riverine areas today, possibly 
resulting in some fatalities.  Exxon/Mobil has issued a 
communiqu, advising all employees to exercise caution and 
minimize travel, with a complete travel ban in the areas 
affected by the military operation.  Exxon/Mobil plans to 
meet September 30 to review its threat assessment level, 
currently at level three in a four-tiered system.  There has 
been no change in the company's production level. 
 
¶8.  (C) Halliburton: Acting Halliburton Security Director and 
Facility Manager for Port Harcourt confirmed no changes in 
Halliburton's security assessment.  He believes the media 
reports are exaggerating the threat.  He notes that rebel 
activities are restricted to the creeks and waterways, not 
the city of Port Harcourt.  Energy company security officers 
in Port Harcourt will meet later today to compare notes on a 
rally planned for October 1 by the National Association of 
Nigerian Students (NANS) to protest the recent fuel hikes and 
the wider security situation. 
 
¶9.  (C) Tidex: The MD for Tidex, an oil service company 
(OSC) which runs large boat operations for Chevron and other 
majors in the Port Harcourt, noted that there is increased 
tension in the area, but said he saw nothing to suggest that 
expatriates are being specifically targeted.  On any given 
day, TIDEX has 10-25 AMCITs in the Port Harcourt area. 
 
¶10. (C) Panalpina: Panalpina Oil and Gas Sales Manager stated 
that his Port Harcourt office reported much higher 
mobilizations of soldiers on the outskirts of Port Harcourt. 
His staff had counted at least 40 armored personnel carriers 
being mobilized on heavy lorries.  He believes that military 
activity has escalated in the area since 21 September. 
Panalpina Manager noted that his staff, like many energy 
sector employees, are generally staying on their compounds, 
and taking precautions such as carrying radios when venturing 
out.  Panalpina is updating its evacuation plans to evacuate 
their personnel by water, if necessary. 
 
¶11.  (U) Coopers Cameron: Coopers Cameron Manager reported no 
significant changes since yesterday. 
 
ACS Update 
---------- 
 
¶12.  (SBU)  There have been no reports of any incidents 
involving Americans. 
 
Press 
------ 
 
¶13. ( C) Several local journalists have informed us that some 
media houses have been pressured by government officials, 
including Rivers State Governor Odili to reduce their 
coverage on the Port Harcourt situation.  This may have 
caused some self-censorship.  Now that the story 
is being covered in the international media, local media is 
reporting more on it.  Nonetheless, Oil Watch Africa, an NGO 
that monitors the energy industry, reported that local 
newspapers carried mostly wire reports on the story, and did 
not seem to be doing independent coverage.  Oil Watch Africa 
reported that local television in Port Harcourt is not 
reporting on the situation. 
BROWNE