A fire broke out early this morning on a Chevron Corp. oil drilling rig off the southeastern coast of Nigeria, Reuters reported. The fire was still burning on Monday night.
Rescue workers evacuated 152 people but two rig workers have not been found, the Associated Press reported.
“We immediately flew out people to the nearby North Apoi platform, and have been helping those needing any medical assistance,” Chevron spokesman Scott Walker said in a statement, according to the AP.
Chevron did not offer an explanation for the fire, saying only that it was investigating the incident, Reuters reported.
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Nigerian government officials said they suspected a “gas kick” — gas pressure building up from drilling — was to blame, Levi Ajuonuma, a spokesman for the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., told the AP.
"I heard a really loud bang and there was a fire," local village chief Young Fabby told Reuters.
According to the AP:
Nigeria is the fifth-largest crude oil exporter to the US. It pumps about 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day. However, more than 50 years of oil production has seen environmental damage through [the] delta's maze of muddy creeks and mangroves.
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