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This Day (Lagos): Nigeria: Shell Battles Fire in Oil Well

September 26, 2006
Posted to the web September 26, 2006
Crusoe Osagie, Lagos

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) yesterday stated that it was still battling to put out a fire ravaging its oil well in southern Rivers State, more than one month after.

The fire on Yorla Well -13, located in Ogoni communities, which was first reported on August 14, had further heightened the disagreement between the communities and Shell.
The company stated: “The Shell Petroleum Develop-ment Company of Nigeria wishes to reassure the neighbouring Ogoni communities, the Rivers State Government and the general public that it is doing everything possible to put out the fire on Yorla Well -13 in Rivers State.

“Initial difficulties in accessing the site caused delays and complications in the well control exercise…The operations to disable the well and extinguish the fire started last week after detailed preparations and technical planning.”

The oil major said initial efforts to extinguish the fire had been impaired after youths from the communities denied access to the site.
An official of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was reported last week as saying that the Nigerian government planed to withdraw Shell’s operating license in the Ogoni area.

The head of the department, Mr. Tony Chukwueke, however, denied such plans on Sunday.

Shell, which withdrew from Ogoni in 1993 and has not operated there since then, said it had since, over the years, sought unfettered access to secure and make its facilities in the area safe.
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