By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
No fewer than five oil wells, belonging to the Chevron Nigeria Limited, in some communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, were on Thursday razed down by fire.
A source told our correspondent that the fire started in Ajegunle Ikorigho community and spread to communities like Ojumole which is located in Ikorigho land in the local government.
According to the source, the inferno also affected Isan-West field, Parable field, Malu field, Ororo and Opokaba Otumara, Ikorigho, Ajegunle-Ikorigho, Zion Ikorigho, Iluayo, Kendo Ayeren and Ehinmoghan-Ikorigho communities, all in Ilaje Local Government.
As at the time filing this report, the cause of the fire incident had not been ascertained.
However, the Chevron Nigeria Limited said the inferno had started last week week Thursday but the residents of the affected communities confirmed that fire was yet to be put out up till Thursday (yesterday).
The oil company, in a statement through the General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, of the CNL, Esimaje Brikinn which was made available to journalists in Akure confirmed the incident and said efforts were ongoing to put out the fire completely.
The statement read: “The operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the CNL confirms that at about 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019, a fire was observed at the Ojumole Well No. 1, an idle and plugged well with no flowline connected to it. Ojumole field is in NNPC/CNL JV’s Western Niger Delta area of operations.
“The CNL conducted an overflight to evaluate the fire and also mobilized emergency responders to assess the site, contain the fire and boom the area. In addition, CNL notified community stakeholders about the incident and also reported it to the Department of Petroleum Resources , National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and other regulatory and security authorities.
“A Joint Investigation Visit to the site of the incident on Saturday April 20, 2019, by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and CNL, determined that the fire incident was caused by third-party interference. There was no impact to any of the neighboring communities.
Brikinn, in the statement, insisted that the CNL had been working with contractors to safely put out the fire as quickly as possible.
“The CNL remains committed to the safety of the communities and the environment in its areas of operation. We continue to conduct our operations safely, reliably and efficiently, with utmost consideration for protection of people and the environment.” the statement stressed.
It was however gathered that there was no life lost in the inferno.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Ondo State Command, Femi Joseph said he was yet to be briefed properly about the incident.
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