7 killed in oil installation blast in N’Delta oil field

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Seven people were killed in an explosion at the Gbetiokun oil field in southern Nigeria’s Niger Delta region during the installation of a ladder on a platform, the state oil company said on Wednesday.

Accidents and pipeline attacks in the Niger Delta are common in Nigeria, cutting into the country’s oil output. Pipelines in the region are exposed and often unguarded, making them easy targets for anyone with access to explosives.

International oil companies have increasingly focused on offshore projects in Nigeria, partly to offset the risk to onshore operations in the Niger Delta.

The latest accident occurred at OML 40, operated by a subsidiary of state-owned oil firm NPDC and the Elcrest joint venture. NPDC did not say whether production was affected.

“Detailed investigation of the cause of the explosion has commenced, while the Department of Petroleum Resources has been duly notified,” the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said in a statement about the incident, which happened on Tuesday.

It said “all personnel on board the platform” had been accounted for.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil exporter, is battling the impact of lower crude prices on government revenues and its currency after a coronavirus pandemic crashed demand for crude.

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