Shell probes smoke near Gbaran oil facility in Bayelsa

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Shell is currently probing reports of smoke and explosions observed early Tuesday near its Gbaran Ubie oil and gas installation in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state, according to a report by Reuters.

The fire Incident, reported in the early morning of Tuesday, involved sounds of explosions and sightings of smoke at a site where pipeline repairs were actively being conducted.

Despite the alarming reports, the Shell spokesperson assured that the incident would not necessitate an immediate operational shutdown of the facility.

Meanwhile, the company said it is taking steps to investigate the specifics of the incident and assess any potential impacts on its operations.

The Gbaran facility, which began operations in 2010, is by far the most important Nigeria LNG gas feedstock project, processing almost 2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

“We are actively monitoring reports of smoke detected near our Gbaran Central Processing Facility in Bayelsa State.

“While the source appears to be external to our facility, we are in close communication with regulatory authorities to look into the incident and ensure the safety of the surrounding communities,” a Shell spokesperson said in a statement.

Shell did not immediately respond to the accounts of residents in the area.

Cause of Explosion

Early Tuesday morning, residents near the Gbaran Ubie facility in Bayelsa State were startled by a loud explosion that reportedly shook the ground and sent thick plumes of smoke into the sky. Ovie Ogbuku, a local resident, described the incident to Reuters, saying,

“At about 7 a.m., the sound was so deafening that it shook the earth’s foundation, prompting us to run for our lives. The result is the thick smoke you see now, which continues to billow from the site.”

The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but thankfully, according to another resident, Uche Ede, it occurred far enough from residential areas to avoid any fatalities.

“We don’t know what caused the explosion, but we are thankful that no lives were lost,” Ede told reporters.

He added that the community remains on edge as the area has been cordoned off by authorities and they await further information.

What you should know

Land operations within the oil-rich Niger Delta are frequently compromised due to rampant sabotage, theft, and vandalism of pipelines.

These security challenges have significantly affected the region’s oil production capabilities, often resulting in operational disruptions and economic losses.

As a response to these persistent issues, major oil companies are progressively withdrawing from these onshore fields.

They are redirecting their focus towards deepwater drilling, which offers greater security and is less susceptible to the issues plaguing onshore operations.

In January, Shell reached an agreement to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to a local consortium for over $1.3 billion, pending government approval.

According to the energy company, the move aligns with Shell’s strategic objective to exit the challenging operating environment I in the Niger Delta region.

In addition to the initial sum, Shell anticipates receiving extra payments of up to $1.1 billion.

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