New Pipeline Fire Hits Southern Nigeria : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

New Pipeline Fire Hits Southern Nigeria 4.34 p.m. ET (2047 GMT) July 24, 2000 WARRI, Nigeria (Reuters)  An oil pipeline burst into flame in southern Nigeria Monday, killing an unknown number of people close to where more than 300 perished in a similar disaster two weeks ago, officials said.

Delta State Governor James Ibori suggested on television that the victims, like those in previous pipeline blasts in the oil-producing Niger Delta, had been scooping up gasoline from a deliberately punctured pipeline.

A national newspaper had reported earlier Monday that villagers with buckets and jerrycans were scavenging for oil products from pipelines still leaking after earlier blasts.

"An unconfirmed number of people are dead,'' Ibori said. Several acres of farmland were still on fire and buckets used in scooping up oil littered the scene.

Officials said that fire crews from state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC), the pipeline's owner, were still battling the fire as night fell Monday.

Ibori's spokesman, Abel Oshevire, said the fire broke out just outside the town of Sapele and close to the site of the deadly July 10 inferno in Adeje village. Sapele is just south of Warri, where a refinery is located.

"Nobody can confirm the number of casualties yet,'' Oshevire told Reuters.

Nigeria has seen a mounting wave of attacks on petroleum product pipelines by residents cashing in on a thriving black market for fuel products.

Despite being Africa's top crude oil exporter and having sufficient installed refining capacity, Nigeria's four refineries have been unable to meet domestic demand due to neglect during years of corrupt military rule.

The mounting death toll from oil fires and the deployment of police and military units backed by helicopters to protect pipelines have failed to deter the thieves.

In October 1998 more than 1,000 villagers burned to death at Jesse, near the scene of Monday's fire, in the worst such disaster to date.

The group managing director of the NNPC, Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, said last week during a visit to the Adeje disaster scene that his company had lost two billion naira ($18.8 million) from attacks on pipelines between last January and May, in terms of lost products and repairs.

($1-106.25 Nigerian Naira)

-- Martin Thompson (, July 24, 2000


I believe Nigeria is the fourth or fifth biggest oil producer in the world. With all the problems they have had since the first of the year--pipeline explosions, massive power outages, etc.--it is hard to see how they can stay up with OPEC quotas.

-- Uncle Fred (, July 25, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ