01 October 2016, Lagos – The Warri refinery in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta region has not been affected by an explosion heard near the site, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said on Friday.
The explosion heard by locals late on Thursday follows a series of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta by militants that have cut the country’s crude oil production by about a third.
“No one has been able to pinpoint the explosion, but there was a big bang around Warri axis yesterday. For now, no production is affected,” Reuters quoted the Zonal Chairman of the NUPENG, Cogent Ojobor, as saying.
The Nigerian Navy said the blast was caused when its officers foiled an attempt to attack energy facilities.
“Our men fired at a boat that was suspected of carrying explosive materials,” the Navy spokesperson, Joseph Dzunve, said, adding that the gunfire was likely to have hit the explosives.
In a separate incident in the Niger Delta on Thursday, a Nigerian militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on the Unenurhie-Evwreni pipeline in Ughelli.
In a related development, Bloomberg said the oil market gave the clearest sign yet that Nigeria’s Forcados crude was about to flow again for the first time in eight months, after Royal Dutch Shell Plc was among companies said to have purchased the grade halted by militant attacks in February.
Axion Energy Argentina SA, Pampa Energia SA, and Shell, operator of the Forcados export terminal, together bought about one million barrels of the grade for delivery to refineries they run in Argentina between November 20 and 25, according to a person familiar with the deal. The seller was Shell Western.