Nigerian oil militants claim 5 attacks in blow to cease-fire

Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group operating in Nigeria’s southern oil-producing region, said it attacked five crude-pumping facilities overnight Sunday, dealing a blow to the government’s effort to enforce a cease-fire.

The targets included Chevron Corp.’s oil wells 7 and 8 and three trunk lines belonging to Nigerian Petroleum Development Corp., the exploration unit of the state oil company, according to tweets from an account claiming to represent the militants. The Twitter account hasn’t been verified.

“As a matter of long-standing policy, we do not comment on the safety and security of our personnel and operations,” Isabel Ordonez, a Chevron spokeswoman based in Houston, said in an e-mailed response to a request for comment. Garba Deen Muhammad, the spokesman of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., didn’t answer two calls made to his mobile telephone.

Attacks on oil facilities this year helped to cut Nigeria’s monthly oil production to about 1.4 million barrels a day in May, the lowest in almost three decades, according to the International Energy Agency. The supply interruptions have contributed to an increase of more than 80 percent in oil prices since benchmark Brent crude slid to a 12-year low in January. Brent ended 64 cents higher at $50.35 a barrel on Friday in London trading.

Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said on June 27 that a cease-fire agreement reached with the group has allowed repairs and restoration of output to about 1.8 million barrels a day.

-Bloomberg