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22:08, 26 June 2017 Monday
Update: 15:17, 08 July 2012 Sunday

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Eni blames sabotage for Nigeria oil spillage
Eni blames sabotage for Nigeria oil spillage

Oil companies and the Nigerian government have accused communities of causing spills to claim compensation for the environmental damage caused.

World Bulletin/News Desk

Italian oil major Eni said on Sunday there has been an oil spill on its Nembe-Obama pipeline in Nigeria's onshore Niger Delta due to sabotage.

"Repair work has started. The wells of Nembe South have been closed with minimal impact on production," a spokesman for the company said.

In 2009, Eni said its net output in Africa's biggest oil producer was 128,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Sabotage of foreign oil company's infrastructure in the Niger Delta has reduced since an amnesty for militants in 2009, but there has been a surge in oil theft in the region this year.

Oil companies and the Nigerian government have accused communities of causing spills to claim compensation for the environmental damage caused.

Locals often say oil companies are slow to react to spills and do not clean them up properly.

"It is indeed sad and most unfortunate that in spite of the huge consequences occasioned by the oil spill, Eni has failed to discuss development," Nengi James, chairman of an oil community committee in the Nembe region, said.

"They (oil firms) allow oil spills to spread to rivers and mangrove forests before coming for inspection and clean-up."

The environmental damage caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta has destroyed fishing livelihoods and means some communities drink water containing deadly levels of toxins, the United Nations said in a report last year.

Foreign oil majors, the Nigerian government and Niger Deltans blame each other for the damage done. Shell, the largest producer in Nigeria, estimates 150,000 bpd of crude oil is being stolen.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.