Tuesday, December 6, 2022

SEPCOL’s Field Fire Extinguished, Evacuation Commenced – Ikeazor

Ukpokiti explosion
The Ukpokiti Terminal explosion.

The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, has announced the recent fire incident at the Ukpokiti oil field, involving the floating production storage and offtake of Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited (SEPCOL), has been ‘totally’ extinguished. 

Ikeazor further assured that the National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA), the scheduled agency under her ministry, will go for overflight yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday) to monitor the situation of crude spill in the sea.

She noted that the overflight operation will be sustained in the weeks ahead until whatever remnants of oil in the FPSO are evacuated and measures evolved to forestall a recurrence of such kind of incident. 

Recall that Ikeazor, in a statement over the weekend, assured those necessary efforts are being made to ensure the fire incident at Ukpokiti oil field is contained after a fire engulfed a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel ‘Trinity Spirit’ in the early hours of last Wednesday.

But in a recent update, Ikeazor said the fire incident at the Ukpokiti oil field was eventually contained on the evening of Thursday, February 3, 2022. 

She made this known after receiving an update from the director-general of NOSDRA, saying a “joint investigation operation” was conducted at the incident area on Saturday.

She equally said the NOSDRA had an overflight on the incident area last Friday, to ascertain what the surrounding conditions were after the fire had been extinguished. 

According to the environment minister, a joint investigation visit to the incident area, as well as the FPSO, was undertaken on Saturday by NOSDRA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Ondo State Ministry of Environment, representatives of communities proximate to the area and staff of SEPCOL. 

“While the cause of the fire incident is yet to be fully determined, the environment around the FPSO is only slightly covered by the sheen and emulsified oil,” she said.

A statement by the ministry’s director of press, Saghir el Mohammed, said it was earlier reported that the approximate quantity of oil in the FPSO in the recent past was said to be a little less than 200,000 barrels. One of the operators utilising the services provided by the FPSO was said to have made an offtake of approximate 120,000 barrels before the incident; leaving an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 barrels in the FPSO at the time of the incident.

“NOSDRA will continue to give updates on this incident after each aerial surveillance scheduled for yesterday and Monday,” Ikeazor assured.

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