At least eight people were killed when an oil pipeline exploded in the southeast of Nigeria, police and a local official said on Sunday, adding that the death toll could rise.
The accident occurred on Saturday during maintenance work on the pipeline in Oyigbo near the West African country’s oil hub Port Harcourt, Rivers State police spokesman Nnamdi Omoni told AFP.
“Some persons in the area had gone to scoop the spilled product when the explosion occurred,” he said, adding that authorities had ruled out “sabotage as the cause of the incident for now”.
Local politician Gerald Oforji said rescue workers had “counted at least eight charred bodies, but I think there could have been more.”
He added that “from our findings so far, the pipeline belongs to the Pipeline Product Marketing Company,” a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest producer of oil, which accounts for more than two-thirds of government revenue and the bulk of export earnings.