Panic as Gas Pipeline Explodes in Rivers Community

Expressing discontent, community residents accused the oil and gas firm of neglect, alleging the absence of a proper Environmental Impact Assessment before siting the pipeline
Pipeline
PipelineThe punch

A gas pipeline owned by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company exploded in the Obagi community within the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. Despite occurring on Wednesday evening, no lives were lost, but the explosion caused damage to the local fauna, prompting panic in the area.

The Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Vincent Job, confirmed the incident on Sunday, emphasizing that there were no casualties. Job stated, “Yes, it happened at Obagi, but thankfully no life was lost. I’ve gone there myself, and during my interaction with the indigenes, they feel it was as a result of equipment failure, though oil and gas experts may have something else to add."

He continued, “We had a very dastardly crude oil explosion at Omoku West. Yesterday too, we also had another one in a different location that is Obagi. For us who are novices in the oil field, you will find out that some of these equipment have lasted for more than 30 or 40 years which calls for their removal.”

Regarding the environmental impact, Job urged the Federal Government and International Oil Companies to ensure the regular maintenance of pipelines and facilities. The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Elemele, revealed that the gas leak had been noticed since mid-2023. Although Agip and NLNG initially denied ownership, the gas company later admitted responsibility after the explosion.

Expressing discontent, community residents accused the oil and gas firm of neglect, alleging the absence of a proper Environmental Impact Assessment before siting the pipeline. This incident follows a similar explosion in Omoku West, within the same local government area, just a month earlier.

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