LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the rebel group that lays claim to many of the attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria, said Friday that it will step up its attacks on oil companies there, and feed explosives to communities to use against them.
In an e-mailed statement signed by Jomo Gbomo, MEND said oil companies working along the coastal region of Nigeria "are in for a raw deal as the military is not in the position to protect them."
It added: "We have decided to step up our attacks ahead of schedule and there will be many more to follow."
The rebel group said it "will offer materials such as explosives to communities that have now realized that it is better to destroy oil facilities in their territory since they do not benefit them in the first place."
It also said it had this week attacked facilities operated by Chevron Corp. and Shell Petroleum Development Co.
It isn't known if oil production was interrupted.
Previous warnings Gbomo has made to the media have proven accurate, and his accounts of MEND's activities have strengthened his claim to being part of the group's inner circle. His name is a pseudonym, however - his real identity is unknown. Henry Okah, who was arrested in Angola last year on suspicion of arms trafficking, is widely believed to have been Gbomo. It is unknown whether someone else is using the pseudonym to continue communicating with the press.
Nigeria's This Day newspaper reported that the attack on a Chevron site in the Warri North area was repelled by Nigeria's Joint Task Force, citing unnamed security sources.
The attack came "at the expiration of a five-hour ultimatum said to have been given to the Chevron management and workers at the Alero and Dibi oil platforms in Warri North," the paper said.
MEND's Gbomo said that its fighters sabotaged a Shell Petroleum Development Co. pipeline Thursday at Adamakiri in Rivers State. That pipeline, Gbomo's e-mail said, links the Cawthorne Channel oil field to the oil hub at Bonny.
Shell Petroleum Development Co. is a joint venture operated by Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC (RDSB.LN), which owns 30%, and with the Nigerian National Petroleum Co. with 55%, Total SA (, , ) unit Agip with 5%.
Estimates vary but, at 500,000 barrels a day, the amount of oil capacity unavailable due to sabotage and security concerns is a fifth below Nigeria's potential, based on the International Energy Agency's estimate of effective production capacity of 2.47 million barrels a day. NNPC officials estimate its capacity is nearer 3 million barrels a day.