Hopes that the current power supply situation in the country would soon improve appear dimmed yesterday following Wednesday’s bombing of a Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) major valve platform around Escravos in Warri SouthWest Local Government Area of Delta State causing a shutout of about 100 milion standard cubic feet of gas equivalent to about 500MW of Average Power.
This is the latest in a series of attacks on oil facilities since President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to treat “vandals and saboteurs” in the region as terrorists.
A militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that it also carried out an attack on a Shell oil pipeline in February which shut down the 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal.
Chevron, an operator of a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said the latest attack occurred at about 11.15 pm on Wednesday.
“Okan offshore facility in the Western Niger Delta region was breached by unknown persons,” said Chevron in a statement. “The facility is currently shut-in and we are assessing the situation, and have deployed resources to respond to a resulting spill.”
There were no immediate details of any casualties. The company could not be reached for further comments.
On Wednesday’s bombing, a source said: “Militants in the Niger Delta region have regrouped.
“Security personnel in the region are the main targets because these militants have cravings for their arms. They kill security agents and collect their arms and ammunition. They are now stockpiling them, possibly for major onslaughts.”
“The recent attack on naval ratings was the most brutal. Something must be done fast because the region is fast degenerating into a war zone,” he said.
In a statement by its spokesman,‘Col’. Madoch Agbinibo, NDA threatened that the Federal Government’s recent deployment of soldiers in the oil-rich region would not deter it from crippling the nation’s economy.
“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers wants to use this medium to thank strike team 6 for successfully blowing up of the Chevron Valve Platform. And we are ready to protect the Niger Delta people.
”This is what we promised the Nigeria Government that since they refused to listen to us, we are going to zero the economy of the country.
“As for zeroing the Nigeria economy, we the Niger Delta Avengers are done with Delta State major oil installations. Now we are taking the fight out off the creeks to the Niger Delta. We are taking it to Abuja and Lagos now.
“We want to pass this message to all international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, that the Nigeria military can’t protect their facilities. They should talk to the Federal Government to meet our demands else more mishaps will befall their installations”, the statement said.
An oil industry expert described the attack as a major setback for oil production and gas supply, saying the facility is among the most significant platforms operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
A source said the bombing led to a massive leak. The nation’s crude oil output and gas supply to power generation companies would be greatly impacted because the subsequent repair would demand a shut-in for as long as the problem takes to fix.
The source added that the platform is one of Chevron’s most strategic facilities, connecting to/from other platforms, including the company’s BOP and its tank farm.
It was also gathered that damage had reduced gas production to 100 million cubic feet, meaning that what goes to power generation companies and other consumers has been reduced.
Nigerian Navy Information Director Commodore Chris Ezekobe confirmed that the facility which is located at about four nautical miles off Escravos Bar, was blown on Wednesday.
He said he was unaware that any group had claimed responsibility but added that there were no causalities.
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