Senate to probe gas pipeline explosion in Bayelsa

Sharon EboesomiMay 22, 20245 min

The huge explosions from a crude oil pipeline led to an inferno in the vicinity of the gas facility.

Senate to probe gas pipeline explosion in Bayelsa

The Senate has mandated its committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream, Gas, Niger Delta Affairs, Health and Environment, to probe a recent gas pipeline explosion in Bayelsa state. 

This resolution followed the consideration of a motion on the “Massive explosion close to Gbarian-Ubie Gas Processing Facility in Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State and pollution of the environment: The need for urgent action,” during Thursday’s plenary.

The sponsor of the motion, Senator Benson Konbowei (PDP, Bayelsa Central) in his lead debate informed the Senate that the Gbarain-Ubie Gas Processing facility is one of the most valuable gas projects in Nigeria having cost multiples of billions of US Dollars to build, and processing about two billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

According to him, the facility supplies gas to the Bonny Terminal for export and is a big source of foreign exchange earnings for the country as well as an important employer of labour.

READ ALSO: Ibadan explosion: Senator Alli calls for humanitarian relief for victims

The lawmaker expressed concern over the huge explosions from a crude oil pipeline on Tuesday, 14th May, 2024 which led to an inferno in the vicinity of the gas facility.

He said that the explosions caused widespread panic among residents of the community where the explosion occurred.

The inferno resulted in the pumping of huge volumes of poisonous gaseous substances into the atmosphere resulting in massive pollution of the environment, with adverse impact on the health of the people within the vicinity.

The air in the vicinity has been heavily impregnated with impurities, which can cause difficulty in breathing, damage to the lungs and high risk for asthma patients.

“The Senate should be worried that the cause of the explosions is unknown, creating an atmosphere of suspense and uncertainty.”

In his contribution, Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa West) said the explosion and pollution has heavily affected the Niger Deltans. 

He said, “It is not only Bayelsa but all oil bearing states in the Niger Delta. 

“It is located in a place where people live. It is appropriate that this matter was brought to the notice of the Senate. 

“I understand that efforts have been made to control the inferno but the people don’t have anywhere to go. 

“In fact, in Bayelsa, the residents don’t know the difference between night and day because of the gas flaring activities of oil exploration companies,” Dickson said. 

He bemoaned the fact that Shell Nigeria Plc, were purportedly noncompliant with ground rent obligations for the surrounding area.

It may interest you to know that even in this facility, Shell the operator has not paid any ground rent. We don’t believe that the executive understands the difficulties that our people have been going through all these years,” he said. 

In his remarks, President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio described the explosion as a very worrisome situation.

He said, “First of all, the facility brings foreign exchange to Nigeria. However the explosion that occurred on 14th of May, 2024 caused panic as the gasses being spewed out of the pipeline and the attendant pollution can cause or aggravate asthmatic conditions.

“The good news is that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration is a corrective regime. We will bring this incident to the attention of the President and we believe the government will take necessary steps to ameliorate the situation and the relevant government agencies will put in place appropriate measures to prevent future occurrence.”

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Bayelsa Central district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Kombowei throughout the 10th senate here. 

Sharon Eboesomi

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