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Nigeria's largest rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has a truce with Abuja thanks to a presidential amnesty for rebels in the oil-rich area. MEND forces used to target oil facilities in the delta, claiming that not enough of the country's oil profits found their way back to the local population.

The presidential amnesty, affecting about 26,0O0 rebel forces, has been the result of mediation efforts which included delta notables as well as executives from the leading IOCs operating in the region. Funding for socio-economic projects in the Niger Delta is being provided by the federal government as well as the local authorities.

The federal armed forces are monitoring the truce in the region's onshore and offshore areas, where petroleum installations are located. MEND forces had had previously bombed oil facilities both offshore and around Lagos, as well as kidnapped foreign nationals involved in the petroleum industry.

Many of the MEND members receive government funding or job training in return for MEND's commitment not to return to violence. As a result, Nigeria's crude oil and condensate production has risen to 2.61m b/d, from below 1.7m b/d at the height of rebel activity. However, pipeline vandalism remains rife.

Far from being national piggy banks, big IOCs like Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil have built up war chests of tens of billions of dollars during the boom years. That has spared them from having to slash budgets, cut dividends or turn to borrowing.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Aug 1, 2011
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