BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT: AFAM power station belonging to Shell may be shut down due to the raging fire on the company’s Bomu-Bonny trunkline that went up in flames on last Sunday.
Vice President, Health Safety and Environment, of the oil giant, Mr Tony Attah who made this known weekend said the station supplies 650 megawatts to the national grid, adding that the country would lose the supply if the place was shut down.
While appealing to the federal government and state governments to assist in putting out the fire, the company also expressed fears that some of those behind the illegal bunkering activity that allegedly triggered off the fire might still be trapped in the raging vessel.
A vessel allegedly been used for illegal bunkering operations went up in flames last Sunday at the company’s 28inch TNP around Okololaunch community.
The incident forced the firm to shut down its Bomu-Bonny Trunkline, which generates 150,000 barrels of crude per day. Mr Attah said the incident caused serious environmental pollution in communities around the facility.
According to Mr Attah there was urgent need to open the trunkline so that there would be no shortage of gas at the Ibong power station in Akwa Ibom State which is needed to power the Afam power station.
Continuing, he appealed for increased security patrol to effectively fight illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
His words, “this situation is beyond the cause of hunger or poverty. The size of the vessel tells you that it involves a cartel. The challenge of oil theft is becoming too big. I am sure that very strong forces are behind this”.
“This is becoming an international problem. It really worries us that big players that are supposed to be working for the betterment of this country are stealing from something that is meant to boost our economy”