Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Friday disclosed that its subsidiary upstream company, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), reported a fire incident on one of its oil blocks – Oil Mining Lease (OML) 20 at Egbema-West of Imo State.
It explained in a statement from its Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Samson Makoji, that the fire outbreak was discovered on October 7, but did not disclose what level of loss it has caused Nigeria in terms of shut-in of oil production from the asset and revenue therein.
The statement however quoted the Managing Director of NPDC, Mr. Mansur Sambo, to have stated that preliminary investigation on the incident revealed that a spark, which ignited the fire during an illegal bunkering activity by vandals, might have caused the incident.
According to Sambo, the fire outbreak occurred in the oil block’s ‘Well–18T’ which is located within the flooded part of Abacheke community.
It noted that further report released by the Community Liaison Officer in charge of Abacheke community indicated that no fatality was recorded.
NPDC, according to the statement, stated that appropriate action to minimise the impact of the fire and ensure safety of the community had been taken, adding that following successful aerial surveillance carried out on October 9, it was mobilising and employing the services of a reputable safety consultant to completely put out the fire.
The upstream oil company however advised members of Abacheke community and its environs to avoid the affected area and stay calm. It equally promised to update the general public on the incident.