Oil Well Fire: Communities Demand $2.5bn from Chevron

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James Sowole in Akure

Communities affected by the fire that engulfed Chevron’s Ojumole Well No 1, Ikorigho in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, have yesterday demanded that the oil company should pay $2.5billion compensation to them.

The compensation was part of the demands submitted by representatives of the affected communities, read by Dr. Akin Akinruntan to the Oil and Gas Adhoc Committee set up by the Ondo State House of Assembly to look into the incident that broke out on April 18, 2019.

The communities, among other demands, also asked Chevron to look into how to relocate the people affected by the inferno and conduct medical examination on people living within 8km radius of the affected areas.

At the meeting convened by the House Committee, stakeholders, including regulatory agencies, youths, and traditional rulers, asked the oil firm to be more proactive in its dealing with the host communities.

Addressing the stakeholders at the meeting that lasted about four hours, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, said the fire was caused by oil thieves who went to the well to steal crude.

Brikinn said CNL was currently working with the emergency response contractors to safely put out the fire as quickly as possible.

“Due to the peculiar terrain of the well location, there is the need to create an access path to the slot leading to the oil head”, Brikinn said.

According to him, the access would enable the heavy equipment and men required to put out the fire safely.

Brikiin noted that incident of that nature could not be handle like any other type to avoid disaster that would have been more devastating, stressing the need for high professional handling of the issue.

He added that the company continued to put all stakeholders, including the government regulatory agencies, media and community leaders in the efforts to put out the fire and address the matter.

The general manager maintained that accredited independent environmental consultants were also engaged to be monitoring the area.

“Our activities will be consistent with the relevant environmental laws, regulations and guidelines. We continue to conduct our operations safely, reliably and efficiently with utmost consideration for protection. Of people and the environment”, he added.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Bamidele Oloyelogun, said the government and the people were very sad about the situation and the plight of the residents of the affected communities.

Oloyelogun, who later called for the adjournment of the meeting until when members of the committee would have returned from assessment tour of the area, said another meeting would be convened to discuss the matter.

The speaker said only one representative would be allowed to represent each of the affected communities at the next meeting.