Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), with its joint venture partners, has shut down the Obigbo gas plant in Rivers State due to what the company called “encroachment on the right-of-way of gas pipelines”.
This is as the company’s topmost management may have given a nod for harder action against encroachers, including prosecution. Shell has over 6000km of volatile pipelines and flow-lines, some delivering gas, need ing isolation and protection.
According to the company’s spokesman, Precious Okolobo, the company took the action on November 1, 2013 on discovering that different types of buildings and structures had been erected on high pressure gas pipelines, thereby exposing the occupants to considerable health and safety risk.
Showing video clips of the hardly hit areas of Obigbo to newsmen in Port Harcourt, Philip Mshelbila, SPDC’s general manager (communications), said people who were expected to appreciate the dangers of building on right-of-way (ROW) were rather the ones spearheading the crime.
Shell said some 40 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscf/d) has been shut in, and that supply to industrial consumers and power plants has been affected.
“SPDC JV reiterated that it took the shutdown decision in the interest of public safety, as the buildings and structures being directly above buried high pressure gas lines violate the pipeline design conditions and pose an unacceptable safety risk to the occupants”.