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Shell said it may shut down its Afam power station due to a fire on the company’s Bomu-Bonny trunk line that was gutted on 30 September 2012
Shell vice-president for health safety and environment, Tony Attah, said the station was supplying 650MW to the national grid and added that the country would lose the supply if the facility was shut down.
Shell has appealed to the federal government and state governments to assist in putting out the fire, which the company said was still raging a week after the disaster.
The company has also expressed fears that some of those behind illegal bunkering activity that allegedly triggered off the fire might still be trapped in the vessel.
A Shell statement said, “The vessel was allegedly being used for illegal bunkering operations and went up in flames at the company’s 28 inch TNP around Okololaunch community.”
Attah said the incident has caused serious environmental pollution in communities around the facility.
According to Attah, there was an urgent need to open the trunk line so that there would be no shortage of gas at the Ibong power station in Akwa Ibom State which was needed to power the Afam power station.
He also appealed for increased security patrol to effectively fight illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Attah said, “This situation is beyond the cause of hunger or poverty. The size of the vessel tells you that it involves a cartel. The challenge of oil theft is becoming too big. I am sure that very strong forces are behind this.
“This is becoming an international problem. It really worries us that big players that are supposed to be working for the betterment of this country are stealing from something that is meant to boost our economy”