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NPDC Pipeline Set Ablaze Less Than 24 Hours After Vice Presidential Visit

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo’s visit to the Niger River Delta didn’t usher in the period of peace for which Lagos had hoped.

Less than a full day after the senior official’s departure, gunmen—suspected militants associated with the struggle to repatriate the Delta’s oil resources—set on fire a crude oil pipeline in Ughelli on Tuesday.

The line belonged to the Niger Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and stood ablaze around 4:30 p.m. behind the SETRACO construction yard.

Local residents suspect that the incident may not be associated with groups such as the Niger Delta Avengers, which have spent the past year demanding that the federal government improve the quality of life of those living in some of Nigeria’s most oil-rich areas.

“The cause of the incident is as a result of bush burning,” an anonymous security source quoted by Vanguard said. “Someone set fire on the area and the pipeline, which had some crude oil spill on it and the surrounding environment went up in flames, sending huge balls of flame into the air. We are ensuring the maximum protection of oil and gas facilities in the area and I can assure you that there would be no form of attacks on oil facilities in the area like in the past.”

Osinbanjo addressed the reality of an oil-less future during his visit to the oil-producing region on Monday.

“America has stopped buying oil from us,” he said. “All the countries of Asia that buy oil from us are building alternative means of power - China and Japan are developing electric cars. In fact, Japan has more charging stations than petrol stations and solar power is getting cheaper.”

“In another 20 to 30 years, our oil won’t be as precious as it is today and that is reality,” Osinbajo added.

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By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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