Daily News  :: West Africa

Blaze at Shell Nigeria's unused oil well put out

Published: 05-DEC-06

Lagos - Fire has gutted an unused oil well formerly operated by Anglo-Dutch giant Shell in Nigeria's restive Ogoniland, the company said.

"The fire erupted at the Bomu oilfield which was not in use, but we have extinguished it. There was no negative impact on the immediate environment," a Shell spokesman said.

He said it took the company, working together with fire-fighting experts from the southern Rivers State where the field is situated, three or four days to put the fire out.

Community unrest forced Shell to quit Ogoniland in 1993, shutting down all its oil wells in the region, including the Bomu field.

Ogoniland is best known as the home of slain rights and environmental campaigner and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa who was executed along with eight fellow Nigerians in November 1995 on trumped up charges of murder.

The executions triggered a flurry of international condemnations and the temporary suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth. The West African country was re-admitted following its return to civilian rule in 1999.

The Nigerian government earlier this year set up a reconciliatory committee to mediate between Shell and the Ogoni people with the aim of allowing the company to resume operations at its abandoned oil wells. Sapa-AFP

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