The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) says investigation into Friday’s explosion at the Rumuekpe section of Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) in Rivers shows the blast was caused by activities of oil thieves.
SPDC in an update statement on Sunday, noted that a joint investigation by representatives of regulators, host communities, operator and state Ministry of Environment on Saturday found a breach on the TNP.
The statement by Michael Adande, spokesperson for SPDC, regretted the loss of lives in the incident and commiserated with families of victims.
He added that security agencies conducting rescue operations had not come out with exact casualty figures.
Meanwhile, the Police in Rivers had confirmed that about 10 persons died on Friday following the explosion.
The TNP, operated by SPDC, evacuates crude from oil fields in Rivers and parts of Bayelsa to the Bonny Crude Oil Export Terminal.
Mr Adande said the fire at the Rumuekpe-Nkpoku trunk line in Rivers was put out before Saturday’s joint investigation began.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) confirms with great sadness that the fire incident, which occurred on Friday, March 3, 2023, on the Rumuekpe-Nkpoku Trunk Line in Rivers State, resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives.
“Government security agencies are still investigating to know the exact number of lives lost in the incident. This is indeed a deeply regrettable incident and we commiserate with the families that have been impacted.
“The report of the government-led Joint Investigation Visit team, which included representatives of the community, ascertained that the fire, which has been extinguished, occurred at the site of an illegal connection used for crude theft.
“The Rumuekpe-Nkpoku Trunk Line, which was not operational at the time of the incident, is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP),” he said.