A persistent threat to oil supplies and contributor to the risk premium that helped push oil prices up in recent years seems to be dissipating.
Fighting in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region has raged for years, as local militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) demanded greater control over local resources.
MEND conducted targeted bombing campaigns that attacked onshore and offshore oil infrastructure at its arteries—pipelines—and MEND warned away foreign oil companies that didn’t meet the group’s conditions for dealing with delta communities.
Most foreign firms deal with Nigerian oil industry captains nearer the country’s main city, Lagos.
Now, President Umaru Yar’Adua is close to finalizing a permanent cease-fire and amnesty agreement for MEND and smaller groups whose fighters total around 8,000 men.
On Monday, October 26, MEND announced the truce from its side, and the move lightened fears that the Niger Delta would continue to fall short on potential output by 1 million barrels a day. That is the amount that was essentially held hostage by the fighters and in turn dented realized worldwide capacity.
Oil dipped below $80 a barrel on Monday as the cool-down in the Niger Delta made news.