Warri Refinery Fire: MEND Claims Responsibility, Says It Intended To Raze the Entire Refinery
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a militant group, has claimed responsibility for the fire that engulfed the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday.
MEND in an email statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, said it set the plant ablaze in fulfilment of its earlier threat to hit oil installations adding that its intention was to raze the entire refinery.
The group warned that as long as President Goodluck Jonathan continued to rely on an unsustainable and fraudulent amnesty programme, peace would continue to elude his government in the region.
The group said the attack was part of its ‘Hurricane Exodus’ and showed that the campaign was on course.
The statement read, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta takes responsibility for the sabotage this morning, Tuesday, October22, 2013 inside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s refinery in Warri, Delta State of Nigeria.
“Hurricane Exodus was intended to burn down the entire refining facility. As long as President Goodluck Jonathan continues to rely on an unsustainable and fraudulent Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, peace and security will continue to elude his government in the region. Hurricane Exodus is on course.”
The Warri refinery has since been operating below installed capacity due to outmoded equipment and poor turnaround maintenance history went into flames at about 11.00am, while crude oil refining process was on at the 125,000-barrel per day plant.
The entire Warri town and environs were said to have been engulfed by the smoke bellowing from the inferno. The fire was also said to have lasted for a few minutes before it was put off by fire fighters and safety officials of the company.
The refinery, the first government wholly owned refinery in the country, was inaugurated in 1978. It was built to process 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day but was later remodelled to process 125,000 barrels per day in 1987.
It was essentially built to add value to some of the refinery by-products such as propylene rich stock and decant oil.
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