ANALYSIS-Nigerian oil crisis may be prolonged by politics

ANALYSIS-Nigerian oil crisis may be prolonged by politics

19 Feb 2006 Source: Reuters
By Tom Ashby

LAGOS, Feb 19 (Reuters) LAGOS – World energy markets could face a prolonged shortfall of Nigerian oil supply after militants halted 21 per cent of the OPEC nation’s exports and kidnapped nine foreigners, analysts and diplomats said on Sunday.

“Jockeying in the run-up to Nigeria’s presidential elections and swelling violence in the unstable Niger Delta threaten the country’s unity and could result in the break-up of the ruling party, damage regional stability and roil global oil markets,” said Eurasia Group in a recent research note.

In the immediate term, the hostages could be used by militants to prevent Royal Dutch Shell from resuming exports from two big export hubs, or as human shields to forestall a military reprisal, setting the scene for a lengthy stand-off in the world’s eighth largest exporter.

“We will keep them for as long as we possibly can,” the militants said in an e-mail to Reuters on Sunday, adding that they would be used as human shields.

“They will be moved around with our units and, should they come across the Nigerian army, they will serve their purpose.”

For more on this story, please go to the Nambian article here.

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