Aiteo operator of OML 29, has reached an advanced stage to seal the ruptured wellhead at its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in the Nembe Creek of Bayelsa State. This followed the assurance it gave the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva during his visit to area on Wednesday, that the raging spill from the wellhead would be halted within 48 hrs due to the progress achieved by its team of technical experts on ground. A statement by Victor Okoronkwo, GMD, Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Ltd, dated Nov 25, which was posted online in the early hours of Friday, said “the containment exercise continues, with booms and environmental barges mopping up spilled crude”.
The statement further said that all relevant personnel and experts, local and international are now on location, adding that marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes and firefighting equipment are 100% mobilised and have started to sail to location. Aiteo’s Chief Operations Officer, Ewarezi Useh who debriefed the Minister on the pre-kill well assessment by Boots & Coots, assured that the well would be secured within 48 hours of his visit. The statement titled, “General status update” reads, “Following the visit of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, accompanied by senior government officials to take stock of the situation at ground zero yesterday (Wednesday), ongoing efforts are being intensified to cap the well and further control the consequences of the spillage at the Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State
“The Minister held extensive discussions with the Aiteo intervention team on ground, led by Chief Operations Officer, Ewarezi Useh who debriefed him on the pre-kill well assessment by Boots & Coots and assuring him that the well would be secured within 48 hours of his visit. Afterwards, the Minister, in a town hall meeting with the people of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom in which he undertook a very fruitful interaction with the community. Fortified by the promises of the company, he assured them that their concerns and grievances will be addressed as also investigations to ascertain what went wrong after the well has been secured. As the well kill progresses, the containment exercise will continue, with booms and environmental barges mopping up spilled crude being fully deployed.
“All relevant personnel and experts, local and international, are now on location. The marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes, and firefighting equipment are 100% mobilised and have set sail to location. The crew will night stop at KM 45 and take off again at first light tomorrow (today) with ETA 12noon on site. 2 x 1000MT Ramp barge containing simulation equipment for the well kill also sailed today. Simultaneously, concurrent activities including spotting and hook up of hoses are ongoing on the barges to minimise clean up downtime. At SBAS-1, the well-control package was transferred onto the well platform and the crew carried out an inspection with the Xmas tree and identified the THS (Tubing Head Spool) to be 2-1/16”. Further, RU(rig up) has been commenced but not completed due to bad weather. The Forward Plan is to complete RU and install well control package to arrest the flow.
It said there is currently no fire at or within the vicinity of the well; environmental impact assessment in vicinity of the area is in planning phase with DPR / NOSDRA accredited firm.
It also said “Team comprising members from Aiteo Well Operations and Boots & Coot already at well site for site preparation for well control operation; connection of suction and delivery lines of two high discharge water pumps, to be used for well control operation completed; commissioning of the pumps in progress; civil work for development of debris laydown area and bunk house placement area is in progress; 1000 Ramp barge containing all pimping and simulation equipment for the well kill approaching Santa Barbra as per latest report received at 21:00hrs; Barge carrying heavy duty well equipment on sail; loading of additional equipment being mobilised from Snake Island underway and is expected to arrive staging area in Santa Barbra by 12:00hrs on 26 November 2021.
Relief materials, viz. Mosquito Net, Hygiene and Sanitary Kits, Disinfectants, food materials, are being mobilised to the immediate communities impacted by the spill; Aiteo Officials are closely monitoring all activities related to the affected communities, viz. feeding, lighting, hygiene, drinking water and medical requirements with the help of local associations; Aiteo Safety and security and HSE teams are monitoring the quality of air every 6 hours to ascertain the livability of the areas adjoining ground zero; Aiteo is mobilising additional relief materials to the affected communities.”