Again, Three Killed In Agip Pipeline Explosion, Several Injured | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Again, Three Killed In Agip Pipeline Explosion, Several Injured

pipeline explosionPost
Posted: Mar 30, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Igoniko Oduma YENAGOA


Three people were killed and several wounded when another explosion occurred at an oil pipeline operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) near Olugbobiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the incident occurred on Easter Sunday about nine months after a similar pipeline explosion and fire from Agip’s Tebidaba-Azuzuama trunkline along Azuzuama community, also in Southern Ijaw, claimed the lives of 12 persons on July 9, 2015.

The victims included representatives of Agip, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, security personnel and the host community, Azuzuama. Ten of them were reportedly burnt beyond recognition in the inferno while two gave up the ghost shortly after.

They were said to be carrying out a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) on a previous oil spill incident on the facility when the explosion happened and resulted in a huge fire.

Sources said the Olugbobiri incident on Easter Sunday also occurred while the workers were repairing and clamping a damaged portion of the facility.

The cause of the incident could not be immediately ascertained but all the victims were said to be workers of a local contractor to Agip, Maco Marine.

The three deceased workers who were mostly welders had been identified as indigenes of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Our correspondent gathered that their bodies were recovered on Monday and taken to a mortuary in the state capital, Yenagoa.

One of them, a native of Ada-Ama, was said to be an only child who was taking care of his mother before he was killed in the explosion.

Some of the survivors who sustained varying degrees of burns and taken to hospital for medical treatment are in critical condition, it was learnt.

Explosions and oil spills from the facilities of multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta had been a recurring decimal across length and breadth of the region, resulting in massive damage to the environment and destroying the means of livelihood of the people.

Many of the explosions and oil spills, especially the ones caused by equipment failure, have remained unresolved over the years as the culpable oil companies always find ways of escaping from the consequences, sources said.

Filipo Cotalini, spokesperson of Eni, Agip’s parent company, could not be reached for comment at the time of filing in this report.

Also, officials of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment contacted by our correspondent declined comments on the Olugbobiri explosion as a new commissioner has not been appointed for the ministry by Governor Seriake Dickson since he was sworn in for his second tenure on February 14.

But Mr. Peter Idabor, Director-General of NOSDRA, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview on Tuesday, saying that a staff of the agency escaped death in the incident.

He said that the survivor had drawn the attention of the oil workers to the breach of safety procedures and left the scene shortly before the incident occurred.

Idabor, however, said he would convey the report of the incident to the Federal Ministry of Environment.

“I received a report of the incident from our staff in Yenagoa office and luckily one of our officers on the team survived. Because of the safety conditions of the place after inspection my staff left the place and he was not affected.

“I am going to report the matter officially to the Minister of Environment today,” he said.