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Fire guts oil wells in Ondo as multinational alleges sabotage

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Five oil wells, operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) at Ajegunle Ikorigho community in Ilaje Local Council of Ondo State, have engulfed in combustible fire few weeks after militants threatened to resume hostilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The Guardian learnt that the inferno, which had been on for seven days, worsened yesterday and spread to neighbouring riverine communities

Sources named the torched facilities to include Ororo; Parable; Isan-West; Opokaba and Malu fields

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The other settlements reportedly affected by the combustion were Ehinmoghan-Ikorigho; Iluayo; Otumara; Ikorigho; Ajegunle-Ikorigho; Zion Ikorigho and Kendo Ayeren.

Reacting, the General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs of the oil company, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, who confirmed the incident, reiterated the commitment of the multinational to the protection of the people and the environment.

According to him, the fire occurred around 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the Ojumole Well No. 1.

He described the facility as an idle and plugged well with no flowline connected to it, adding that the Ojumole field was in NNPC/CNL JV’s Western Niger Delta area of operations.

His words: “CNL conducted an overflight to evaluate the fire and also mobilised emergency responders to assess the site, contain the fire and boom the area.

“In addition, CNL notified community stakeholders about the incident and also reported it to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and other regulatory and security authorities.”

“A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the scene of the incident on Saturday, April 20, 2019, by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and CNL, determined that the fire incident was caused by third-party interference.

“There was no impact to any of the neighbouring communities. CNL is currently working with contractors to safely put out the fire as quickly as possible.”

Brikinn added: “CNL remains committed to the safety of the communities and the environment in its areas of operation. We continue to conduct our operations safely, reliably and efficiently.”


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