Pandemonium struck the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State residents on Monday, June 29, 2015 when a Nigerian Agip Oil Company facility burst into flames after two explosions which subsequently cut off 20,000 barrels per day of crude oil production.
According to Reuters, an official of the company said the fire started on Sunday, June 28, 2015 and had not spread beyond the tanks’ containment basin and that fire fighters were already on ground to combat the outbreak as at that time.
“The impact on production net to Eni is approximately 20,000 bpd,” the source said, adding, “I can’t confirm when production will start again.” According to the official, the course of the fire was being investigated.
Residents of Ebeocha town were taken aback by the deafening sounds of the explosions on Monday, June 29 as they were getting set for their various businesses. They were more apprehensive as they had heard a similar explosion in the area the previous day.
However, no casualty was reported as fire fighters from Agip and Total Exploration and Production were on ground to put out the inferno. According to an eyewitness who was identified simply as Ella, “Nobody was injured and nobody died. When it happened, fire service men came almost immediately to fight the fire. We cannot really say what caused the explosion.
“We heard the first explosion in the night on Sunday before the second one that caused the fire outbreak.”
The Chairman of the Local Government, Mr. Augustine Ahiamadu, dismissed speculations that the explosions could have been as a result of a sabotage. According to him, the cause of the fire could have been mechanical, that the site of the incident was a high risk area and needed to be replaced.
He could however not confirm if there was any casualty as a result of the fire.
Security agents have been deployed to the area even as residents begin to leave the Ebeocha town for fear of more explosions.