The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has confirmed the death of seven workers in an oil pipeline explosion at one of its facilities in Delta State.
It said the explosion occurred on Tuesday at the company’s Benin River Valve Station and not all personnel on board have been fully accounted for, according to BigPen Online.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, said the BRVS explosion happened at Gbetiokun, OML 40, operated by NPDC.
“The incident, which occurred on Tuesday during the installation of a ladder on a platform (Benin River Valve Station) for access during discharging of Gbetiokun production, unfortunately, caused seven fatalities.
“The bodies of casualties have been deposited in a morgue in Sapele, while families of the personnel involved are being contacted by their employers,” he reportedly disclosed.
It will be recalled that the OML 40 licence lies onshore within the Niger Delta, approximately 65km northwest of Warri, and covers an area of 498 square kilometres.
The Company completed the acquisition of a 45% equity stake in OML 40 in September 2012 and has been producing oil from the Opuama field since 2014.
The Gbetiokun field, which was discovered in 1987 and further appraised in the early 1990s, is being operated by NPDC and Eland Oil & Gas, an upstream oil and natural gas exploration company.
The companies had last year announced that they were commencing a five-well drilling campaign of OML 40 onshore in the Niger Delta.
According to reports, the development was targeted to shore up the gross output of about 45,000 BPD for the firms. Reports said the partners are drilling five wells, with a rig going to spud two development wells on Gbetiokun and a further two wells in Opuama.
Eland’s chief executive officer, George Maxwell said in an intelligence report that production from this asset, which borders the Gulf of Guinea and flows to Shell’s Forcados terminal, is currently running at about 26,000 barrels per day all from the Opuama field.
He was quoted to have said that at the end of this drilling campaign, the gross output could hit about 45,000 BPD, as Gbetiokun field is set to be exploited by an early production facility with a capacity of up to 25,000 BPD.