Nigeria’s NNPC shuts pipeline valve in Delta after gas leak

NNPC

Niger Delta Avengers took credit for the explosion at an NNPC pipeline on Thursday morning. Mail on Sunday photo.

NNPC contained gas leak caused by explosion

ONITSHA, Nigeria, June 16 (Reuters) – Nigerian state oil firm NNPC managed to close a valve in a pipeline in the Niger Delta to contain a gas leak caused by an explosion, a community leader said on Thursday.

The Niger Delta Avengers, whose attacks on oil facilities in the southern oil region in the last few months have pushed crude production to a 30-year low according to the International Energy Agency, said on Twitter that it blew up the pipeline.

“At around 4 a.m. we heard the loud noise of an explosion, then a sound like rain so we came out and saw gas gushing out from the NNPC pipeline,” said Nsikak Joshua, a community leader in Ikot-Osute, at the site of the blast.

“There is no fire there now. Engineers …have switched off the valve,” he said.

The Avengers on Monday said they would only negotiate with the government if independent foreign mediators were involved.

On Thursday, the Ijaw Youth Council, which represents the Delta region’s main ethnic group, accused the military of raiding local communities and said it expressed “doubt about the sincerity” of the government’s offer to enter in to dialogue with locals to help quell anger in the restive region.

(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu; writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by Susan Fenton and Jason Neely)

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