Explosion at Nigerian illegal oil refinery kills more than 100

Apr 24, 2022: More than 100 people were killed overnight in an explosion at an illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria’s Rivers state, a local government official and an environmental group said.

“The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected more than 100 people who were burned beyond recognition,” the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Opiah, said on Saturday.

Unemployment and poverty in the oil-producing Niger Delta have made illegal crude refining an attractive business with deadly consequences leading to many fatal accidents and polluting a region already blighted by oil spills in farmland, creeks and lagoons.

The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre said several vehicles that were in a queue to buy illegal fuel were burned in the explosion.

At least 25 people, including some children, were killed in an explosion and fire at another illegal refinery in Rivers state in October.

In February, local authorities said they had started a crackdown to try to put a stop to the refining of stolen crude, but with little apparent success.

 

Government officials estimate that Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter, loses an average of 200,000 barrels per day of oil – more than 10 percent of production – to those tapping or vandalising pipelines.

That has forced oil companies to regularly declare force majeure on oil and gas exports.

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