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Oil and Gas

Nigeria military repel attack on ExxonMobil compound

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Nigerian security forces repelled an attack by gunmen on an Exxon Mobil XOM.N housing compound in the Niger Delta state of Akwa Ibom, security sources said on Wednesday.

The attack on the U.S. energy giant’s compound in Eket, where security measures were reinforced in December following a rise in violence in Akwa Ibom, took place at around 2200 GMT on Tuesday, the sources said.

“The shooting lasted about 30 minutes ... All residents have been accounted for,” one of the sources said, adding there were no civilian casualties.

A second source said the attackers had been repelled on the waterways around the compound and had not got inside the site.

Exxon Mobil officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Insecurity in the Niger Delta has largely focused on the three main oil-producing states of Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa but there have been a growing number of attacks in Akwa Ibom, further east towards Cameroon.

Armed men attacked an Exxon oil platform off Akwa Ibom last month, while in December gunmen attacked a convoy belonging to Exxon’s local unit MPN as it travelled towards the nearby Qua Iboe oil terminal in an apparent failed kidnap attempt.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the region’s main militant group, called off a 5-month-old ceasefire at the end of January, warning of a “sweeping assault” on Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

The group has not carried out any major strikes which have impacted production since the end of the ceasefire, but it has warned that kidnapping "high-value" U.S. and European oil workers remains part of its strategy. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Reporting by Austin Ekeinde and Nick Tattersall)

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