Total close down Nigerian gas plant after leak

French oil company Total has shut down a gas plant in Nigeria’s onshore Niger Delta, following a leak caused by a technical incident, the company said in a statement.

The leak occurred on a block that also contains crude oil in Rivers state, one of the three states that make up the Niger Delta, a vast wetlands region veined with hundreds of kilometres of labyrinthine creeks and waterways.

“On April 3, Total E&P Nigeria was alerted about some water and gas resurgence points, observed in an uninhabited area close to its onshore Obite gas production facilities, on the OML 58 licence,” a statement on the company’s website said.

“This event is the likely consequence of a technical incident that occurred during drilling operations on the same site, on March 20. There have been no injuries. Production from the Obite gas plant has been stopped and wells shut down.”

The company said it was working hard to limit the impact on the environment from the leak. It did not say how much gas output was affected or if any oil output had been cut off.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and holds the world’s seventh-largest gas reserves. Its light oil is popular with US and Asian buyers, but it remains a relatively small player in the gas business.

Block OML 58 also produced around 76 000 barrels per day of oil in 2004 and this increased in 2008, the company said on its website. The statement did not say if oil production at the site had been affected by the shutdown.—Reuters

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