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allAfrica.com: Shell Puts Out Ogoni Fire, Gas Leak Remains Unchecked

Yemie Adeoye, Vanguard (Nigeria)
Published: Jan 23, 2007

THE Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited has finally put out the wellhead fires on Bomu – 41 and 50, however, the gas leaks continue because the communities have refused to allow the company secure the wells.

A statement from the company pointed out that the development implies oil and gas continue to leak into the environment, adding that SPDC is very concerned this could ignite another fire which will be difficult to control and which could destroy the environment and harm people living in the area.

SPDC appealed to leaders of K-Dere community to allow its technical team properly secure the wellheads to prevent any danger to lives and property.

“The latest fires at Bomu brings to six the number of such incidents in Ogoniland in less than 12 months. Fires had previously been reported at Yorla-13, Bomu-15, Bomu-12 and Bomu-6.

In particular, the Yorla fire was so intense that it took the intervention of international oil fire experts – Boots and Coots – to put it out.

When SPDC left Ogoni- land in 1993, it was not allowed to secure its wells properly. The only way to remove this danger is to secure the wells and this is in line with a directive from the Rivers State Government in previous engagements.

Regrettably, the company has not been allowed to carry out this important activity of securing the wells, and the threat of danger to the environment and destruction of lives from wellhead fires remains,” the statement read.

The company further appealed for unfettered access to immediately secure all uncapped wells, explaining that this will not be a ploy to secretly resume oil production in the area but a much-needed exercise to protect lives and property.

SPDC also expressed gratitude to the Rivers State Government, Gokana Local Government Council and chiefs and elders of the area for their assistance in extinguishing the wellhead fires and ensuring the success of the fire fighting effort.

The company said an effective step to controlling a burning wellhead includes stopping the source of leakage of gas and oil that feeds the fire.

“With the wellhead fires at Bomu-41 and 50 extinguished, the environment will soon be saturated with flammable liquids including oil and gas. This exposes the environment and the people of the area to the danger of an uncontrollable fire.”

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)

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