Posted by News Express | 25 April 2019 | 587 times
The masterminds of the April 21 fire outbreak at OML 29 oilfields operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production were burnt to death.
Rear Admiral Akinjidie Akinrinade, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed to the Niger Delta, disclosed this on Wednesday shortly after inspecting the incident site at Awoba area along the 97-kilometre Nembe-Bonny oil export pipeline.
The Commander visited the site of the explosion where the fire destroyed vegetation stretching to hundreds of meters along with Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command.
Akinrinade who expressed regret at the development which led to the outage of the 150,000 barrels per day Nembe Creek Trunk Line noted that troops of the joint force deployed to the area responded immediately the incident occurred.
He explained that troops on surveillance at a nearby houseboat who arrived the scene confirmed that all the vandals who breached the pipeline under high pressure died from the explosion and fire that followed.
On arrests, he said that although the vandals died in the act, efforts were underway to track their collaborators because the criminals involved in oil theft operate in groups.
He said that the joint military force, Operation Delta Safe would redouble its efforts against oil theft and pipeline vandalism and assured oil firms in the Niger Delta of safety of its personnel and facilities.
“I am here for an on the spot assessment following the fire incident on the Nembe Creek Trunkline, which is a critical national asset and to restate our commitment to protecting oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
“This incident has adverse economic implications and the military high command is concerned, that is why I am here with my component commanders and we shall continue to provide security to the oil firms.
“I assure the oil firm of security to ensure that the breached point on the line is traced and fixed,” the Commander said.
Remains of the suspected vandals and oil thieves were being recovered in the creeks when the commander visited the area.
Local divers were seen searching for more dead bodies near the fire disaster scene along the creeks.
Aiteo had shut oil injection on the line and declared a ‘Force Majeure’ on oil exports from the export line following report of the fire incident on April 21 by the JTF surveillance team.
Force Majeure is a legal clause that absolves a firm from liabilities to meet contractual obligations due to circumstances outside its control.
The NCTL was earlier shut on March 1, 2019 and restarted on March 6 following an explosion from a well head in Nembe creek which also resulted to a fire incident but there was no loss of life.
•Photo shows Rear Admiral Akinjidie Akinrinade, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed to the Niger Delta, on arrival at Awoba, scene of the fire disaster at Nembe Creek Trunk Line. Six suspected pipeline vandals reportedly died in the inferno.
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