- An illegal oil refinery in southern Nigeria has exploded, resulting in the deaths of at least 18 people, including a pregnant woman. The blaze occurred in Rivers State’s Emohua district when a homemade refinery ignited a nearby oil reservoir, leaving victims severely burned. Most of the victims were youths, with a pregnant woman and a young lady getting ready for her marriage ceremony all casualties. A local Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps spokesperson, Olufemi Ayodele, said the fire outbreak started at a very late hour. According to a local Ibaa community leader, a Reuters news agency report indicates that up to 37 people were killed in the fire.
Illegal refining is common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where impoverished locals tap pipelines to make fuel for selling for a profit. Nigeria has tried to clamp down on illegal crude refineries for years, with little success due to powerfully connected politicians and security officials involved. Nigerian oil majors are selling onshore and shallow water assets to focus on deepwater operations due to crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and legal battles.