A gas pipeline owned by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company exploded in Obagi, Rivers State, causing damage to the environment. The incident took place on Wednesday evening in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area. Fortunately, no lives were lost, but the explosion led to the destruction of the surrounding vegetation and created panic in the area. Vincent Job, the Chairman of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, confirmed the incident in an interview on Sunday, reassuring that there were no casualties.
Job stated, “Yes, it happened at Obagi but thankfully no life was lost. I’ve gone there myself and during my interaction with the indigenes, they feel it was as a result of equipment failure though oil and gas experts may have something else to add.
“We had a very dastardly crude oil explosion at Omoku West. Yesterday too, we also had another one in a different location that is Obagi.
“For us who are novices in the oil field, you will find out that some of these equipment have lasted for more than 30 or 40 years which calls for their removal.”
Continuing, he said, “You will find out that the locals are there and they suffer a lot of this degradation. The Federal Government and the International Oil Companies should ensure that their pipelines and facilities are up to date.”
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of the community, Eze Elemele, said the gas leak had been noticed since the middle of 2023, but that both Agip and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas denied ownership of the facility when a letter was written to them.
The monarch said, “The gas leak had been going on since June last year. We wrote to Agip and NLNG but after inspection, they both said the pipeline wasn’t theirs.
“Now, it exploded and Agip has finally admitted that it’s their own.”
Many community residents expressed dismay over what they termed ‘neglect’ by the oil and gas firm who they accused of not carrying out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment before siting a pipeline in the community.
Our correspondent recalls that the Obagi gas explosion came barely a month after a similar incident allegedly claimed lives in Omoku West also in the same LGA.