Unscrupulous people, described as crude oil thieves have set fire on oil
pipeline, belonging to Italian oil giant Agip at Ubeta community in the
Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was reported that the field is operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, a
subsidiary of Italy’s Eni.
Ubeta is a border community between Bayelsa and Rivers States, separated by
Orashi River, deep in the resource-rich Niger Delta.
A community source, who participated in a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV)
to the burnt facility, told our reporter that the fire, which broke out on
Sept. 20 had been contained.
The source explained that the fire, which was ignited in the early hours of
Sept. 20, was finally put off on Sept. 22 by a fire-fighting team.
He said the JIV report concluded that the fire was caused by oil thieves.
The vandalism of pipeline installations is rampant in Niger Delta, the
resource base of Nigeria.
A joint investigation at the scene of the incident by regulatory agencies,
NOSDRA, DPR, Rivers State Ministry of Environment and community
representatives to ascertain the cause of the inferno revealed that it was
due to a third party interference.
An illegal bunkering point was found on the pipeline at the point of the
fire and it was being repaired, said the source.
Ubeta residents informed us that the area is notorious for illegal crude
refining activities, a development that has made the settlement a target
for frequent raids by security agencies.
When contacted on the development, Ms Marilia Cioni, Regional External
Communications Advisor in charge of sub-Saharan Africa at Eni, said the
company would soon speak on the incident.