Gordon Brown has offered Nigeria help to train security forces in its main oil producing region in an effort to stabilise oil markets by tackling a multi-billion pound criminal racket.
By Alex Barker in London
The prime minister promised to support the establishment of a maritime training centre for forces operating in the Niger Delta after meeting Umaru Yar’Adua, the president of Nigeria, in London.
Mr Brown said it would form part of a crackdown on “lawlessness and corruption” in the energy rich region and make oil installations less vulnerable to looting.
An insurrection in the Niger Delta has reduced Nigerian oil output by about a quarter and concerns at deteriorating security have contributed to soaring world energy prices.
Mr Brown said production could be increased by more than 1m barrels a day in the region if a long-term peace settlement could be reached.
Mr Brown said: “The price of oil requires us to look round the world where sources of production can be found. One of the areas where we can make the greatest progress most quickly is the Niger Delta.’’
He gave no details of whether the training package included financial support or a commitment of British armed forces. One government official said it would involve “military experts providing military advice”.