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Two Missing As Shell Oil Rig Catches Fire off Nigerian Coast

Common Dreams staff

The KS Endeavor jack-up rig on fire at the Funiwa field in Nigeria. (Photograph: Chevron)

Things just get worse in the offshore oil fields of Nigeria as a fire broke out Monday an oil and gas rig doing performing exploration for Royal Dutch Shell.

Reuters reports:

Two workers were missing after fire broke out on a drilling rig in Chevron's Funiwa oil facility in southeast Nigeria on Monday, Chevron said.

"Search and rescue has successfully found 152 of 154 personnel. We expect all of those rescued to be onshore and checked medically. The fire is still burning. Early well control activation is ongoing," Chevron spokesman Scott Walker said.

Local people reported a loud explosion on the rig early on Monday. "I heard a really loud bang and there was a fire," local village chief Young Fabby, 55, said by telephone.

And the Associated Press reports the response from Nnimmo Bassey:

Bassey, who runs Environmental Rights Action, an environmental watchdog group in Nigeria, said he had received reports from locals nearby that the fire was an industrial incident.

"Workers were trying to contain the gas pressure and they didn't succeed," Bassey said.

This latest accident happens amid large scale popular unrest in Nigeria centered around the oil and gas industry where threats of strikes from oil workers unions followed government attempts to cut of popular public subsidies generateb by oil revenues.


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