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Inferno Ravaged Pipeline Facility In Delta, As NGO Berates FG,NOSDRA, IOCs For Alleged Disregard For Environmental Safety

Calls For Evacuation Of Residents, Provision Of Relief Materials
By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

  • Fire has engulfed the Trans-Forcados Pipeline connecting the Forcados Export Terminal in Burutu local government area of Delta State.

    The inccidence could make Nigeria lose about 240, 000 barrels of crude oil per day following the fire outbreak in the export line.

    It was gathered that the inccidence occurred around the Chanomi creek of Yeye Community at about 11:45pm on Saturday night.

    Chairman of Yeye community, Pastor Philip Fianka, also confirmed the incident to newsmen in the early hours of Monday.

    Although, it was not clear what led to the fire outbreak, sources said the inferno occurred at a site where repair works were ongoing at spill site.

    Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) is the joint venture operator of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline which conveys about 14% of Nigeria’s total daily output, carrying crude from about 7 oil blocks across the oil-rich region.

    The General Manager, Community Relations of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL), Mr Sylvester Okon, said the fire occurred at a crude oil spill site along the pipeline.

    According to Okon, “At about 2300hrs on 19 May 2019, a fire incident was reported at the crude oil spill site along the TF pipeline around Yeye Community. It was gathered that the fire occurred due to excessive heat from a pumping machine which was being used to transfer crude oil from the spill site into a barge.

    “The fire was reported to have destroyed some equipment at the scene. The houseboat and gunboats were safely relocated from the scene of the fire incident.”

    Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), operated by a human rights activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade has drawn the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria, NOSDRA and International oil companies, IOCs, to the pipeline fire outbreak on the Trans-Forcados Pipeline.

    Mulase, who is the National Coordinator, CEPEJ and a Peace Ambassador in a telephone conversation expressed disappointment over what he described as utter disregard for the safety of the Niger Delta environment displayed by those benefiting from the resources of the region.

    He condemned the negligence exhibited by NOSDRA, the government agency established to cater for the people and the environment of the oil region.

    He noted that avoidable disasters had been allowed to wreak havoc on innocent people and the environment due to lack of proactive measures.

    He alleged that the fire incident which occurred Saturday night at about 11:45pm, when residents were already asleep, was caused by ongoing repair works at a spill site that as led to the causality of a worker and several degree of injury sustain by people.

    CEPEJ's criticism of NOSDRA was due to the Agency's alleged neglect of the NGO's invitation to the Director General of NOSDRA that he should visit communities and creeks in the Niger Delta Region affected by oil spill to enable him have personal knowledge of the situation.

    He said NOSDRA's negligence has caused numerous oil spills and related environmental disasters, alleging that the Agency lacks adequate information on the numerous oil spills in the region to enable it discharge its statutory functions effectively

    Comrade Mulade reminded NOSDRA that several explosions of oil and gas pipelines had caused far-reaching environmental and ecological disasters. He attributed these to the substandard oil and gas transportation facilities that are often unchecked before usage, thereby leading to leakage, spills and explosions that have gone on in the region.

    He said NOSDRA allegedly failed to give a correct evaluation of the volumes of crude oil and gas that have been discharged into the environment due to various explosions, leakages, equipment failures and third party interferences, as well as

    NOSDRA's alleged failure to inspect pipelines that were due for remedial maintenance.

    The environmentalist however called on IOCs operating in the area to provide relief materials to affected communities, urging the people to vacate the area to prevent health-related implications such as terminal