Quantcast

60 Dead in Nigerian Pipeline Explosion

Energy
A pipeline fire in Nigeria in 2006 caused, like an explosion Friday, by pipeline vandalism. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP / Getty Images

A fire that ignited at a Nigerian oil pipeline Friday has now claimed 60 lives, Reuters reported Monday.


Officials gave a death toll of 16 on Friday, but a spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) updated that figure Monday.

The fire broke out in southeast Nigeria near the city of Aba and was caused when vandals attempted to rob fuel from the pipeline, officials said.

"The incident occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Those burned are more than 30 with many others sustaining injuries," survivor Nnamdi Tochukwu told Al Jazeera Saturday.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spokesperson Ndu Ughamadu also blamed the fire on people attempting to steal fuel.

"I can't give the exact number of casualties for now, but the explosion was caused as a result of oil thieves who had hacked the line to intercept the flow of petrol from the Port Harcourt refinery to Aba," he told AFP, as Al Jazeera reported.

Fires or explosions caused by pipeline robberies are a recurring problem in Nigeria, which is Africa's No. 1 oil producer and exporter. A 1998 pipeline explosion in the Niger Delta killed more than 1,000 and a 2006 fire at a vandalized pipeline killed about 269. Sometimes, the explosion occurs when villagers come to collect oil once the initial robbery has already taken place, increasing the death toll. This was the case with Friday's fire, NEMA coordinator Evans Ugoh told reporters, as Nigerian paper Vanguard reported.

"My team has visited the scene of the explosion and we discovered that victims of the incident took advantage of the pipeline leakage and were scooping the oil before fire caught on them," Ugoh said.

Ugoh said the victims should have alerted authorities about the leak instead of collecting the oil, but he also called on the NNPC to strengthen security for its pipelines and improve its disaster response plan.

"A uniform disaster management strategy by oil companies and NNPC and to come up with best practices on disaster management. Oil stakeholders should also engage services of professionals and to sponsor research for disaster management strategies for oil pipeline," Ugoh said.

NNPC officials told Reuters they had stopped pumping on the System 2E pipeline network, of which the vandalized pipeline forms a part. The network carries imported gasoline from Port Harcourt refineries to the southeast and north of Nigeria.

"We will resume the pumping of products very soon," Ughamadu told Reuters Monday. "We had put out the fire. We are now pumping water in the pipeline to detect other possible areas of leakages."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Cheri Bantilan MS, RD, CD

Garlic is an ingredient that provides great flavor to dishes and can be found in most kitchens across the globe.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Claire O'Connor

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Echinacea is a group of flowering plants that belong to the daisy family, along with plants like sunflowers, chicory, chamomile, and chrysanthemums.

Read More Show Less
One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Read More Show Less
Semi trucks travel along I94 on June 21 near Lake forest, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Trump administration pushed through an exemption to clean air rules, effectively freeing heavy polluting, super-cargo trucks from following clean air rules. It rushed the rule without conducting a federally mandated study on how it would impact public health, especially children, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan in a report released yesterday, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less