The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has said that the Rumuekpe-Nkpoku Trunk Line, operated by company in Rivers State, was not operational at the time of the fire explosion which killed scores of people in Rumuekpe community, Emohua Local Government Area.
Recall that Rivers State Police Command had confirmed that no fewer than 12 persons died last Friday following an explosion near the Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line, a part of the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, said preliminary investigation by the Police indicates that the victims were fetching crude oil when the site caught fire.
But an SPDC Spokesperson, Mr. Michael Adande, who confirmed that the fire has been put out, said the incident occurred at the site of an illegal connection used for crude theft, maintaining that the pipeline was inactive at the time of the incident.
Although SPDC did not disclose the volume of crude stolen or spilled at the site, Adande in a statement, however, condole with the families of victims of fire explosion which he described as regrettable incident.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited confirms with great sadness that the fire incident, which occurred on Friday, March 3, 2023, on the Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line in Rivers State, resulted in the unfortunate loss of life.
“Government Security Agencies are still investigating to know the exact number of lives lost in the incident. This is indeed a deeply regrettable incident and we commiserated with the families that have been impacted.
“The report of the government-led Joint Investigation Visit team, which included representatives of the community, ascertained that the fire, which has been extinguished, occurred at the site of an illegal connection used for crude theft. The Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line, which was not operational at the time of the incident, is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline.”
Meanwhile, the Director General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, Idris Musa, says NOSDRA has began probe into the fire explosion at the Rumuekpe section of Shell’s Trans Niger Pipeline in Rivers State.
A Joint Investigative Visit to the incident site to ascertain the cause of the blast and volume of crude spilled was scheduled last Saturday, although the outcome is yet to be made public.
JIV is a statutory inquiry that follows every oil spill incident consisting of representatives of the oil firm, regulators, host community and State Ministry of Environment.
The TNP operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, evacuates crude from its oil fields to the Bonny Crude Oil Export Terminal in Bonny Island.