The fate of 10 oil workers is unknown after an explosion rocked Ugborodo (Escravos) offshore location, in the Warri South-West Local Government Area in Delta State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the explosion happened around 1am on Wednesday from a vessel situated around Meren, a north field oil facility belonging to a multinational oil and gas company in the Escravos area of Warri South-West.
The affected facility was identified as the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, aka FPSO Trinity Spirit, owned by Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited (SEPCOL).
The explosion created fear among workers manning oil facilities near the area and fishermen in the community, as they watched the raging fire helplessly.
One of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the explosion was a threat to Nigeria’s ecosystem.
He said, “That it exploded, its content is already spilled in the waters around communities close to where it exploded, and that means no fishing for those communities. How long are we going to continue with this trend?”
The management of SEPCOL, while calling for calm, said the cause of the explosion was being investigated.
The firm, in a statement by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ikemefuna Okafor, noted that 10 crew men were on board the affected vessel.
At this time, there are no reported fatalities, but we can confirm that there were 10 crew men on board the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritising investigations with respect to their safety and security,” the statement said.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Paul Osu, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the cause of the explosion was being investigated by the commission and its partners.
The statement said, “NUPRC wishes to announce that an explosion leading to a major fire on an evacuation vessel at Ukpokiti field (OML 108) in Delta State was reported by our operations team on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.
“The commission, in line with its statutory regulatory oversight of upstream petroleum operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, has commenced investigations into the incident in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and will provide updates appropriately.”
The NUPRC added that there was no report of any fatalities.