29 February 2012
Chevron said it has reduced the gas inferno in the Niger Delta region to a considerable level and that the fire would be extinguished in two weeks time.
According to the company, it will achieve this in record time by channeling the burning gas into a relief well which it has constructed as a safety channel.
The fire, which started over a month ago, initially was out of control until Chevron contracted and mobilised the Transocean rig Baltic to commence drilling a relief well.
“We will soon extinguish the fire but it could extend for some days. However, we are deploying additional drilling experts and well control specialists to Nigeria to assist with well control efforts and the relief drilling process,” Chevron said.
The inferno had led to loss of lives, particularly that of Chevron’s staff, and has brought a lot of discomfort to the environment and the surrounding communities. But for the quick intervention of the federal government through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the host communities had threatened a legal action against Chevron.
However, LEADERSHIP gathered that the oil company is prepared to deploy all its resources to end the fire as soon as possible so as to avoid incurring the wrath of their host communities. Already, the company has appealed to the communities through their leaders to bear with them as Chevron was ready to pay compensation to avoid any legal battle.
According to the company, food and supplies have been sent to the communities to help reduce the suffering of the people and they were said to have received bags of rice, bags of cassava flour, cows, vegetable oil, palm and groundnut oil, cartons of tomatoes and canned drinks from Chevron.