- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Protesters besieged oil platforms run by Royal Dutch/Shell Group Cos. and ChevronTexaco Corp. for a second day yesterday, shutting down 90,000 barrels a day in production from Africa’s leading oil exporter, company officials said.

Hundreds of protesting villagers from Kula community, including women and children, on Sunday invaded two oil pumping facilities owned by Royal Dutch/Shell in the Ekulama oil fields and another belonging to ChevronTexaco at Robert-Kiri island in the swamps of the oil-rich delta, demanding to see top officials of both companies.

Shell pumps 70,000 barrels daily from the two stations, and ChevronTexaco pumps 20,000 barrels daily from its own station.

A Royal Dutch/Shell spokesman in Lagos said the protesters are blocking dozens of oil workers on the platforms from leaving. Representatives have been sent to the villagers for negotiations, the spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ChevronTexaco has reported the protest to the authorities of Rivers state, in charge of the region, spokesman Deji Haastrup said.

Protest leaders and officials of the two oil multinationals met later yesterday with a governor’s representative in the Rivers capital, Port Harcourt. They agreed to set up a committee to consider the villagers’ demands for jobs and other benefits, Rivers spokesman Emmanuel Okah said.

Most of the protesters left the Royal Dutch/Shell facilities yesterday, leaving behind about 20 people to ensure they were not reopened, the Royal Dutch/Shell spokesman said.

Nigeria, at 2.5 million barrels a day, is Africa’s leading oil exporter, the world’s seventh-largest exporter, and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

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