It has been confirmed that the fire outbreak which occurred last Monday at Oil Mining Lease (OML) 20 in Egbema-West, Imo State, was caused by a spark which ignited the fire during a bunkering activity by vandals.
OML 20 is a small onshore licence within the NNPC/Shell Joint Venture. It is the most northerly block in the JV and is located 100 kilometres north of Port Harcourt. It contains four mature producing fields: Egbema, Egbema West, Oguta and Ugada, which combined produced over 70,000 b/d in the 1970s.
NNPC’s E&P subsidiary the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) is the operator of the Egbema and Egbema West fields. Operatorship was transferred in 2005 to allow NPDC to build its technical strength.
Investigations revealed that the fire occurred actually in Well-188T, located within the flooded part of Abacheke community in Egbema. Officials of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), an Upstream Subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said last weekend that however no fatality was recorded.
The NPDC Managing Director, Mr Mansur Sambo, told newsmen that appropriate action to minimize the impact of the fire and ensure safety of the community had been taken.
The Upstream company said the situation was brought under control following successful aerial surveillance carried out in the area. He also said the company mobilized and employed the services of a reputable safety consultant to completely put out the fire.
NPDC has also advised citizens of the Abacheke community and the neighbouring villages to the affected area and stay calm, promising to update the general public on the incident soon.