No fewer than five oil wells, belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited, in some communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, caught fire on Thursday.
A source disclosed that the fire started in the Ajegunle Ikorigho community and spread to communities like Ojumole, which is located in Ikorigho land in the local government.
According to the source, the inferno also affected Isan-West field, Parable field, Malu field, Ororo and Opokaba Otumara, Ikorigho, Ajegunle-Ikorigho, Zion Ikorigho, Iluayo, Kendo Ayeren and Ehinmoghan-Ikorigho communities, all in the Ilaje Local Government.
The cause of the fire had not been ascertained as of the time of filing this time.
The CNL, in a reaction, however, said the inferno had started Thursday but the residents of the affected communities confirmed that fire had yet to be put out as of Thursday.
The oil company, which issued a statement through the General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, of the CNL, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, confirmed the incident and said efforts were ongoing to put out the fire.
The statement read, “The operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the CNL confirms that at about 10pm on Thursday, April 18, 2019, a fire was observed at the Ojumole Well No. 1, an idle and plugged well with no flowline connected to it. Ojumole field is in NNPC/CNL JV’s Western Niger Delta area of operations.
“The CNL conducted an overflight to evaluate the fire and also mobilized emergency responders to assess the site, contain the fire and boom the area. In addition, CNL notified community stakeholders about the incident and also reported it to the Department of Petroleum Resources, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and other regulatory and security authorities.
“ A Joint Investigation Visit to the site of the incident on Saturday, April 20, 2019, by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and CNL, determined that the fire incident was caused by third-party interference. There was no impact on any of the neighbouring communities.”
Brikinn, in the statement, insisted that the CNL had been working with contractors to safely put out the fire as quickly as possible.