Aiteo Exploration and Production has said that it can not own its own stop Nembe oil spill as it is seeking foreign technical expertise to halt the ongoing November 5 oil leak at an oilfield it operates in the Nembe Creek, Bayelsa State. In a statement signed by its Spokesman, Mathew Ndianabasi the oil firm said that it has intensified its response by seeking the assistance of other oil and gas exploration firms in the response to the spill. The statement is coming on the heels of a reaction by Gov Douye Diri of Bayelsa who lamented the pace of response and inability of the oil firm to halt the leak after more than two weeks and continued pollution of Nembe creeks and farmlands.
Diri had warned the oil firm to be ready for the consequences of neglecting the negative impact of the incident believed to have been caused by equipment failure as his administration remained committed to defending the welfare of impacted residents. It was however learnt that officials of the oil firm had visited the leadership of the impacted communities to show empathy with the victims and handed over four truckloads of food items, medical supplies while it battle to stop the leak. Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm which acquired the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 following the 2015 divestment by Shell maintained that the leak was caused by sabotage by oil thieves who have become an obstacle to oil production and export from the asset.
“Though spills of this nature are not uncommon to the oil and gas industry, their resolution requires expert skill and equipment that are not routinely or readily available. The typical process is to first kill the well and stop the leak and then focus on the clean-up. Aside urgent possible technical responses to contain the leak, Aiteo has sought, become involved with and is now in active collaboration with Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) that have since mobilised to site, in addition to Aiteo internal resources to reinforce containment and recovery efforts. CNA is the industry non-profit umbrella body with expertise and resource to contain spills of this nature.
“In the meantime however, the area has been cordoned off and CNA is mobilising additional resources to strengthen the containment effort. The required apparatus including heavy duty and specialist equipment are presently being mobilized, locally and internationally, on a fast-track basis, to bring the well under control. For this purpose, Aiteo has on-boarded the involvement of the renowned, Boots & Coots, arguably the leading well control company in the world, working with a local resource. Upon this intervention and conclusion, it is expected that the persistence of the leak alongside its functional consequences will be abated and significantly diminished,” the oil firm said.