An explosion was reported in Rivers State on February 22, hitting two pipelines in the Emohua local government area, one of which belongs to Nigeria LNG (NLNG), a statement from the liquefaction company said last week. The explosion was on a section of the right of way housing two gas pipelines, about 3 km from Rumuji.
NLNG said the cause of the explosion was still to be determined, but that no injuries or fatalities had been reported. Communities in the area were warned to stay away from the site, while authorities were notified.
Typically when pipelines explode in the Niger Delta, this is blamed on militants in the area. In this case, though, NLNG appears to be blaming a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC), for using explosives during a seismic survey.
A statement from NNPC denied that its unit, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), had caused the explosion.
IDSL was carrying out seismic work in the area, on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Co. (SPDC) on Oil Mining Licence (OML) 17/22, NNPC said, but was working under safe distance standards set out by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“Our activities involve the use of seismic explosives of size 2kg and detonators. The drilled and exploded depth is 45 metres. At this depth the effect on the surface cannot affect any structure,” the statement said.
The suspected gas leak “was not caused and cannot be caused by NNPC, IDSL Party 05 seismic operations. Our closest activity around the incident area yesterday was 798 metres away from the pipeline”, it said.
NNPC went on to say it had informed the Rivers authorities of the incident.
A report in Nigeria’s The Guardian newspaper, on February 25, reported that four people had been killed as a result of the explosion. Locals blamed the explosion on high pressure in the pipeline, with calls for the pipelines’ owners to visit the site in order to gauge the damage to the people and communities.