Monday, March 16, 2009

Chevron loses 75,000 barrels to militants

Published: Monday, 16 Mar 2009

THE American oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, on Saturday, suffered a fresh setback in its operation in the Niger Delta region, as its pipelines serving some production platforms in Delta State were blown up by some yet-to-be identified persons.

The pipelines, covering about 10 kilometres, were blown up with dynamite at the coastal Makaraba and Kokodiagbene communities in Warri South West Local Government Area of the state.

Findings by our correspondent on Sunday showed that the pipelines serviced three major production platforms of the oil giant before they were damaged by the hoodlums.

It was gathered that the perpetrators carried out the attack at 2:45am on Saturday.

Reliable sources in CNL identified the flow stations being serviced by the ill-fated pipelines as Makaraba, Otunana and Abiteye. It was gathered that the three production platforms produced 75,000 barrels of crude oil per day before thy were damaged on Saturday.

The incident occurred less than three weeks after the Abiteye pipeline belonging to the American energy giant suffered the same fate in a coastal community in the council area.

CNL sources said the three flow stations had been shut down as at Saturday night, apparently to curtail the oil spill resulting from the incident.

Already, four communities identified as Kokodiagbene, Ighosuo-Gbene, Teide-Gbene and Ughe-Gbene have been badly affected by the spill. It was gathered that the spill had destroyed aquatic and other normal life activities in the Ijaw communities.

Further findings by our correspondent showed that 75,000 barrels of crude oil per day had been shut-in by the oil firm due to the development, a development observers said could cause another round of fuel scarcity in the country.

Our source said preliminary investigation by the CNL management and the authorities of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region, Operation Restore Hope, showed that the vandals threw dynamite at the pipeline and disappeared from the scene.

The source added, “Some criminals blew up major pipelines servicing three flow stations in Delta State with dynamite on Saturday morning. The pipelines running into about 10 kilometres, were destroyed by the blast. It is sad to note that we have shut down Makaraba, Otunana and Abiteye flow stations because of this unfortunate incident.

“Consequently, we are losing 75,000 barrels of crude oil per day since Saturday because of the destruction of the pipelines. The management has reported the incident to the security agencies, particularly the JTF in Warri.”

The Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, JTF, Col. Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the report, and accused a militant group based in Delta State of perpetrating the act.

He said, “A new militant group suspected to have defected from the Camp of Government Ekpomukpolo, a.k.a Tompolo, has vandalised Chevron oil pipeline running from Makaraba Otunana/Abiteye flow stations at Makaraba and Kokodiagbene Area of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State at about 02:45am.

“The group had threatened to continue with their attacks on installations and facilities unless they receive gratification from the multinationals. The JTF would not allow this trend to continue in the region. We are going to identify and arrest every member of the group who participated in the act to serve as a deterrent to others.”

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