Intensive efforts were under way last night to secure the release of six Britons after they were kidnapped from a Nigerian oil rig off the country's southern coast.
They were among eight crew members snatched from the platform, moored 40 miles off the shoreline, in what is thought to be a money-making scheme, rather than a political gesture.
The Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta, which has kidnapped oil workers in the past, has denied involvement.
A Nigerian police spokesman confirmed they were in talks with the kidnap group, which has not been identified. "We are talking to them. We hope to make some breakthrough soon," he said. The rig, operated by Aberdeen-based Dolphin Drilling for the Nigerian oil company Peak Petroleum, had 84 people on board.
Nigeria normally pumps 2.5 million barrels of crude a day. Oil prices jumped by almost $2 (£1.06) a barrel on Friday, after the kidnappings.