Shell puts out oil pipeline fire at Bonny export terminal

Oct 14, 2004 02:00 AM

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said it has successfully put out the fire that ravaged its crude oil pipeline feeding the Bonny Export Terminal in Rivers State.
The company said oil production cutback suffered due to the fire allegedly set on the Trans Niger Pipeline that runs through Moghor, in Gokana Local Government Area of the state, was now 13,000 bpd as against 20,000 bpd reported.

News of the reduction in production cutback as a result of the Shell pipeline fire, as well as the announcement by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) that crude oil production has not been disrupted, sent oil prices crashing at the international market. The Light sweet crude was traded $ 2.85 lower at $ 51.60 a barrel, while the Brent fell $ 1.10 to $ 48.50 a barrel.
Some unknown persons were alleged to have set fire on the crude pipeline, which had been leaking. SPDC said that upon inspection, "the leak was as a result of a hacksaw cut on the 24 inchpipeline."

"We finally got community permission to work on the sites... . The fire has been put out, and we are progressing action to clamp the leak, recover the spilled oil and clean the consequent spillage," the company said.
"We have already switched production from the 24-inch to the 28-inch pipeline at two manifolds in Bomu and Ogale in order to stop any further leakage," it added.

The pipeline fire incident had heightened fears of possible disruption to oil supply from Nigeria, the world's seventh biggest producer, following the strike called by organised Labour to protest the increase in fuel prices. But PENGASSAN said that oil production has not been affected by the strike. Acting PENGASSAN president, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, told that while the strike has been total in the downstream petroleum sector, the upstream sector activities were not totally paralysed.
"For now, the upstream is still in operation, that is crude oil production is still going on. But that will depend on further directives we get from the TUC (Trade Union Congress)," Ogun said. A PENGASSAN source had earlier revealed that in mapping out the strike strategies, the union had considered not to shut down the oil fields as re-starting them takes a long time.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Adams Oshiomhole, warned the strike could be extended following the killings of some demonstrators in some parts of the country. The TUC, in which PENGASSAN is a key affiliate, is expected to join suit. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is, however, putting in place contingency measures to ensure oil exports continue.
A senior official of the department said that non-union staff could be deployed to the oil export terminals to ensure that loadings are not disrupted.

Source: Thisday
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