Leak forces Total to stop work in Nigeria

April 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, April 16 (UPI) -- The Nigerian subsidiary of French supermajor Total announced it closed some operations in the country because of leaks.

Total said it set up a special task force of well-control experts to handle "water and gas resurgence points" in an uninhabited area close to a natural gas production facility in Nigeria.

"This event is the likely consequence of a technical incident that occurred during drilling operations on the same site, on March 20th," the company said in a statement. "There have been no injuries."

The company said it was taking all necessary measures to ensure the environment and nearby communities were safe. A safety perimeter was set up and water and air analysis was ongoing.

Total has been criticized for its environmental record in Nigeria following a legacy of oil spills the supermajor in part blames on saboteurs.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta took responsibility for an attack on an oil pipeline operated by Italian energy company Eni in February.

Total didn't indicate the level of pollution associated with the latest incident. Production at the gas production was shut down.

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