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NUPRC Begins Probe as 22,000bpd SEPCOL Oil Vessel Explodes in N’Delta

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The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said it has commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the explosion of a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in Warri, Delta State.

The vessel with a capacity to process up to 22,000 barrels of oil per day, inject up to 40,000 barrels of water per day and store two million barrels of oil exploded and sunk at the Ukpokiti Terminal, around Excravos in the early hours of Wednesday.

THISDAY checks showed that the huge facility, TRINITY SPIRIT, was built in 1976 (46 years ago), with a carrying capacity of 274774 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT) and an overall length of 337.05 metres as well as a width of 54.5 metres.

The asset is owned by Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited (SEPCOL), now in receivership, which in 2004 acquired all of 40 per cent of ConocoPhillips equity interest in OML 108.

A statement signed by NUPRC’s Mr. Paul Osu, on behalf of the Gbenga Komolafe-led commission, made available in Abuja, the commission stated that it was working closely with other relevant agencies of government to get to the root of the matter.

“NUPRC wishes to announce that an explosion leading to a major fire on an evacuation vessel at Ukpokiti field (OML 108) in Delta State was reported by our operations team on Wednesday 2nd February 2022.

“The commission in line with its statutory regulatory oversight of upstream petroleum operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry has commenced investigations into the incident in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and will provide updates appropriately.

“There has been no report of any casualties or fatalities and the commission will take necessary measures to ensure that all safety and environmental measures in line with global best practices to safeguard lives and the environment are put in place,” it noted.

SEPCOL (now in receivership), according to earlier THISDAY checks, is owned by a combination of Nigerian and overseas corporate entities, which include: Abbeycourt Trading Company Limited (ATCO), Abbeycourt Petroleum Company Limited and Allenne Limited.

The FPSO serves as the primary production facility of for OML 108 and is also a government approved terminal for lifting operations for all OML 108 production.

It was learnt that about 10 persons were within the facility when the incident occurred who had yet to be accounted for at the time of going to press.

On the other hand, a statement by the Chief Executive Officer, Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd (in receivership), Ikemefuna Okafor, obtained by THISDAY confirmed the incident, but stated that at the time it was preparing the public announcement, there were no report of casualties.

In the release titled: “Fire Incident on The Trinity Spirit FPSO,” the company announced that the incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday.

While stating that investigations were going on to ascertain the actual cause of the explosion, the organisation noted that as required, it had already reported the matter to the appropriate government agencies.

It further confirmed that there were 10 crew members, but that everything was being done to ensure their safety and security.

“The management of Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL) in receivership, hereby announces the unfortunate incident of a fire that engulfed our offshore facility, the FPSO Trinity Spirit located at the Ukpokiti Teminal, following an explosion during the early hours of Wednesday, 2nd of February 2022.

“The cause of the explosion is currently being investigated and we are working with necessary parties to contain the situation.

“At this time there are no reported fatalities, but we can confirm that there were 10 crew men on board the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritising investigations with respect to their safety and security, “ the company said.

SEPCOL further appreciated the assistance provided by the Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA), the Chevron team operating in the nearby Escravos facility and its community stakeholders as well as fishermen, who it said had been of tremendous assistance since the incident happened.

“We have duly notified all relevant authorities and we appeal to the members of the public to stay away from the area while our crisis management team continues to monitor the situation and update all stakeholders with new information as the investigation evolves,” it stated.

Meanwhile, three persons have been confirmed dead while eleven others declared missing following the explosion. Sources told reporters in Warri yesterday that three bodies had been recovered while 12 others were yet to be accounted for at the time of filing this report. It was also gathered that fire fighters were still battling to contain the incident as the vessel was fully loaded with crude at the time of the incident

Culled from THISDAY

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