A file picture dated 23 December 2006 shows oil facilities in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
WARRI – Nigerian militants on Sunday blew up a crude pipeline operated by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell in the restive oil-producing south, residents said.
"The incident occurred at about 1am near Odimodi community in Delta State with the velocity of the blast shaking apartments in the community amidst a huge ball of fire," said local resident Endoro Newworld.
"The trunk line known as Trans Ramos belongs to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), he said.
"At sunrise, a group from the community in company of the SPDC surveillance team was able to locate the site of the blast," he said.
Another resident who did not want to be identified told AFP the pipeline had been previously targeted by militants.
"Precisely on the 22nd of this month, there was a failed attempt to attack the same facility, hence we were expecting that security in the area would have been tightened, but we are really disappointed that they succeeded this time," he said.
There were no details available about the damage or any possible casualties.
Shell officials could not immediately confirm the incident and no group has claimed responsibility.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group has claimed a string of attacks against the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as well as oil majors Shell, Chevron, Exxon and Eni since February.
The attacks have slashed output at a time when Nigeria is grappling with low global crude prices which have hammered government revenues, weakening the naira currency and pushing up inflation to near 11-year highs.
The Avengers want oil majors to leave the Niger Delta, blaming them for contributing to widespread poverty and under-development of the region.
The group also wants self-determination for the oil-producing states and political autonomy.
The rebels have spurned dialogue to end the violence, prompting the government to warn of an imminent military showdown with the insurgents.