By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) revealed that the investigation into Friday, 3 March, 2023, explosion at the Rumuekpe section of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) in Rivers, showed the blast was caused by activities of oil thieves.
SPDC in an update statement on Sunday, 5 March, 2023, noted that a joint investigation by representatives of regulators, host communities, operators and state Ministry of Environment on Saturday found a breach on the TNP.
The statement by spokesperson for SPDC, Mr Michael Adande, regretted the loss of lives in the incident and commiserated with families of victims.
In the statement made available to thegazellenews.com, Adande added that security agencies conducting rescue operations had not come out with exact casualty figures.
According to him, the fire at the Rumuekpe-Nkpoku trunk line in Rivers was put out before Saturday’s joint investigation began.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) confirms with great sadness that the fire incident, which occurred on Friday, March 3, 2023, on the Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line in Rivers State, resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives.
“Government security agencies are still investigating to know the exact number of lives lost in the incident. This is indeed a deeply regrettable incident and we commiserate with the families that have been impacted.
“The report of the government-led Joint Investigation Visit team, which included representatives of the community, ascertained that the fire, which has been extinguished, occurred at the site of an illegal connection used for crude theft.The Rumuekpe – Nkpoku Trunk Line, which was not operational at the time of the incident, is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP),” SPDC spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Police in Rivers confirmed that about 10 people died on Friday, 3 March, 2023 following the explosion.
Thegazellenew.com reported that the TNP, operated by SPDC, evacuates crude from oil fields in Rivers and parts of Bayelsa to the Bonny Crude Oil Export Terminal.