According to the BBC, a Chevron representative, Lloyd Avram has stated that a gas-fuelled fire burning in waters off the Niger Delta may last for “conceivably months”. The fire which started in January due to an explosion at the KS Endeavour exploration rig owned by the company, and in which two workers died, has been described as the worst of such accidents to hit the world in recent years. The situation is said to be under control, with no further oil leakages, but the fire rages on, with flames reaching as high as 5m.
The disaster has already caused almost 100 people to leave towns close to the fire, with local chiefs asking Chevron to relocate more.
The company is said to be trying to put out the fire by drilling a hole in the original gas well where the explosion occurred, through which cement will be poured. Mr Avram is reported to have said “There’ll be 1000 feet of drilling and interestingly we need to reach an area that is approximately 12 square inches. It’s going to take some time but I cannot predict how long that will be – conceivably months.”
Nigeria is the fifth-largest crude oil exporter to the U.S. It produces about 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day. However, more than 50 years of oil production has seen environmental damage through delta’s maze of muddy creeks and mangroves.
Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, produced an average of 524,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Nigeria in 2010. The company has exploration rights to about 2.2 million acres across Nigeria’s delta and offshore.