Two U.S. Oil Workers Killed in Nigeria

Violence, kidnappings, and extortion are common in the Niger delta. Nigeria is a OPEC member, and the Niger delta is one of its poorest regions, despite its oil production.

A spokesman for ChevronTexaco said that six bodies were recovered from the remote area of the river channels and mangrove swamps, including two American contractors who worked for the Houston based company International Building Systems (IBS).

The two Americans were identified as Denny Fowler of Dallas, Texas, Vice President of construction, and Ryne Hathaway of Universal City, Texas, project manager.

IBS was hired by ChevronTexaco to restore crude oil production from flow stations in the western part of the delta, which had been destroyed last year by militants.

Last year?s uprising killed hundreds of people and forced oil companies to close 40 percent of their two million barrel per day production in the region.

Ten percent of the production is still closed, but the oil companies are cautiously brining production back on line, as the flow stations are under the protection of the Nigerian military.

The attack appears to be one of opportunity. General Elias Zamani, who commands the troops protecting the oil facilities, said that he is sending reinforcements to the area.