Chevron’s burning gas rig ‘may burn for months’

Channels Television  
Updated February 22, 2012

The gas-fuelled fire on Chevron’s KS Endeavour exploration oil rig that has being burning for over a month in, Bayelsa state, will burn for months, a Chevron official has confirmed.

The spokesman’s for Chevron Nigeria Limited, Lloyd Avram has revealed that, it is going to take months before the fire can be put out, noting that despite the fire, the situation is now under control and no oil is leaking.

He explained that “there’ll be 10,000ft of drilling and interestingly we need to hit an area that is approximately 12sq inches.” “It is going to take some time, but I cannot predict how long that is going to be – conceivably months,” Mr Avram told the BBC.

The company has been struggling to put out the fire that is burning in a 40m-wide area on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, 10km off the coast in Bayelsa state, by piercing a hole in the original gas well – through which cement will be poured.

A major build-up of gas pressure from drilling caused the explosion that set the rig on fire on January 16. Two workers of Chevron died after the accident that caused the explosion at the KS Endeavour exploration rig, owned by the US oil giant. Friends of the Earth has described the accident as the “world’s worst accident in recent years.”

Hundreds of people have reportedly left Koluama town, the community just 10km away from the fire, as they are afraid to eat fish, which is crucial their diets. Demands have been made to the oil company to relocate them.

Scientific tests are currently being conducted to find out if local food and water has been contaminated by the gas in the ocean.
The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had stated that the reasons for not putting out the fire since is because Funiwa field is still leaking raw gas and until the point of leakage is found and plugged; the fire wouldn’t be stopped for health and environmental reasons.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who went on tour of the affected communities over the weekend, assured them that the government and the oil company are “making frantic efforts to stop the fire as soon as possible.”