21 January 2014, Los Angeles – Some Nigerians have dragged the American major oil and gas E&P company, Chevron before a California federal court over a 2012 offshore gas exploration rig explosion that killed two workers.
The Law 360 reports which revealed this much also disclosed that the claimants are seeking $5 billion in damages occasioned by the gas rig explosion.
The plaintiffs in the suit are leaders of Niger Delta communities who represent the interests of thousands of locals whose land and waters were contaminated by the disaster.
The complaint alleges that Chevron willfully refused or failed to halt drilling operations after receiving reports of equipment failures and smoke and gas build-up that lead to the explosion and subsequent leakage of hydro-carbon gases.
In January 2012, Chevron’s KS Endeavor drilling rig exploded approximately 6 miles of the coast of Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa.
Early reports indicated that the deadly explosion and subsequent gas fire were partly the result of a failed blow out preventer as was the case in British Petroleum (BP) 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The company planned to put out the fire by drilling a hole in the original gas well, through which cement could be poured. Residents in coastal towns close to the fire were temporarily relocated due to concerns about food and water contamination.
The fire burned for 46 days until March 2, 2012. The relief well Chevron drilled was sealed on June 18, 2012.
In July 2012, it was reported that Chevron left workers “pleading to be evacuated from a gas exploration platform off Nigeria which kept drilling while smoke poured from a borehole until an explosion killed two people as the rig became engulfed in flames.”
The offshore branch of Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) trade union gave Reuters transcripts of three testimonies from workers on the KS Endeavour.