Panic in Bayelsa community over crude oil leakage

There is rising tension among residents of the Nembe community in Bayelsa State over a massive leakage from a production oil well also known as OML 29 located along the Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe local government area of the State.

The residents of the community in a video sent to newsmen alleged that the massive spill, if not checked may lead to a massive outbreak of fire.

But reacting to the development, the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29, stated that the magnitude of the incident was extreme.

According to Aiteo, though the oil spill is from a non-producing wellhead and neither the cause of the spill nor the quantity of leaked hydrocarbon could be determined at the time of the discovery, but containment booms were deployed and recovery commenced immediately around the wellhead.

In the statement issued via electronic mail and signed by its media contact, Ndiana Mathew, the Aiteo stated that “As an incident of this nature imports, the necessary Oil Spill Notification Report have been promptly communicated to National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and National Petroleum Investment Services (NAPIMS) as is required by regulation.

“Ultimately, a Joint Investigative Visit, JIV to the spill site was held by all relevant stakeholders, community inclusive. The JIV at the time, was inconclusive, owing to difficulties with access due to the high pressure of hydrocarbons from the wellhead. Additionally, immediate efforts to control the leak were aborted due to the high pressure emanating from the wellhead. Consequently, Aiteo has mobilised a full intervention team with well control specialists and equipment both locally and internationally to arrest the leak,” he said.

The JIV team commended Aiteo for its prompt emergency response and handling of the incident.

He added further investigations on the cause of the mishap was being undertaken and will be progressed after the well has been shut-in, saying preliminary indications suggest that crude oil theft leaks and sabotage cannot be ruled out.

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