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Shell Nigeria Reports Second Pipeline Fire In Week

The Wall Street Journal: Shell Nigeria Reports Second Pipeline Fire In Week



May 21, 2004 1:32 p.m.

LAGOS — Shell Nigeria reported a second pipeline fire in a week Friday, and said one person was believed dead after the blaze.


The company said the pipeline fire was in the Oguta-Egbema region of which is south eastern Nigeria.


A company statement said that a tanker without a registration plate number, which may have been used to steal oil from the pipeline, was burning at the scene.


Shell says its fire crew has put out the blaze and staff are trying to clamp the leaking line.


However it says the fire and leak won’t affect production.


Earlier this week, three people were feared killed after an oil well they may have vandalized exploded into flames about 90 kilometers from Friday’s fire.


A company spokesman told Dow Jones that the affected pipeline takes crude oil from Shell’s Oguta/Egbema field to Bonny Terminal.


Besides the burnt corpse and tanker without a registration number, Shell said other items found at the site included two shovels, one pipe wrench, burnt flexible hoses, and various pipe fittings.


Shell said in a statement late Thursday that it had engaged four well fire experts from Coots and Boots to end the fire at its Afam Well-16 in Rivers State, which it said was caused by crude oil theft.


The spokesman said the experts have succeeded in moving the tanker used in the Afam incident. He said the tanker has a capacity of 13,800 liters.


Shell said three people died in the Afam incident, but local press put the number of casualties at about 40.


Stealing of crude and refined products is common in Nigeria, as armed gangs often hack into pipelines.


By Vincent Nwanma, Dow Jones Newswires;234 1 585 0849;


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