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NAPE urges caution, as Caritas Varsity’s borehole gas fire enters its ninth day

The Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) responded to news and videos making the rounds on social and other print media concerning the recent gas leak and inferno that devoured a water borehole site within Caritas University at Amorji Nike (approximately 3km from Emene) in Enugu State.

NAPE President (Dr. James Edet FNAPE) has emphasized on behalf of the Association’s over 12,000 strong/active membership that the rush to explain what transpired and processes should be left to experts such as NAPE and its likes.

“As NAPE, we are urging to members of the public to tread carefully since they visit the site to prevent burns and other risks connected with this sort of flare (water and gas leak), as it now lacks proper safety measures to minimize the flare,” he says. NAPE, via its experienced members who have worked in the oil and gas business as well as academics, will need more data to determine the cause of this leak. With this data, measures to prevent future instances can be proposed.”

NAPE is the umbrella organization for those working in the professional application of geosciences and associated fields to oil and gas exploration and production in the country.

The Petroleum Association urges businesses and individuals that hire water well drilling firms to obtain expert geoscience advice and project assistance before to beginning exploratory activities. This will go a long way toward preventing unprofessional drilling methods and the associated environmental repercussions.

NAPE also honors and thanks the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigeria National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Federal and State Fire Services for their efforts to date.

In the future, NAPE President enjoined relevant agencies to employ the services of specialists with technological know-how to figure out methods with best practices to address such issues in order to avoid similar occurrences. Because gas is very flammable, it must be handled by specialists.

NAPE further stated that its executives from the Awka/Owerri Chapter, led by Chapter Coordinator Dr. Princeton Dim, have visited the site and are ready to give technical and professional help to appropriate agencies in order to stop the continued loss of gas and water. An occurrence that has major environmental implications for the community’s life and property.

Dr. Edet, on the other hand, issued safety warnings about the gas leak:

  • Visitors to the location are encouraged to proceed with caution in order to prevent burns and other risks connected with this sort of flare.
  • Because the source of the leak has yet to be identified, the chance of the fire spreading exists.
  • Subsurface gas leaks need specialist repair procedures rather than standard firefighting methods.
  • Further drilling of any kind (mine, hydro) surrounding this area should be prohibited until the fire is extinguished and the source is located.
  • Prior to the start of every drilling project, a comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plan must be in place.

As previously indicated, while NAPE continues to collect relevant data, it is ready to provide expert help and guidance to appropriate authorities in order to ensure a full repair effort.

Furthermore, NAPE has long supported and associated with oil and gas operations, as well as the federal government’s Decade of Gas programs and policies. Among these initiatives are the following:

  • The federal government’s goal is to increase the country’s crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and crude output to three million barrels per day by 2025.
  • Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government (NESP).
  • Diversification of the Nigerian economy from an oil-based to a gas-based economy through the development of gas infrastructure, commercialization of gas flaring, and maximization of the use of gas to power economic development.