Home News Aiteo oil spill in Nembe no end in sight, 1000 barrels of crude oil scooped

Aiteo oil spill in Nembe no end in sight, 1000 barrels of crude oil scooped

by Business News Report

Two weeks three days after the reported spill at the Santa Barbara Well 1 in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), in the Nembe creek, Bayelsa State the troubled facility is still spewing crude into the environment polluting farmhands and the creeks. It was however learned that the pressure from the well which has been dormant and non producing since its acquisition in 2015 and securely isolated has reduced while recovery efforts are ongoing. It was reliably learned that three barges of 1,000 barrels capacity of recovered crude oil have been evacuated from the area while the fourth one was being loaded. Officials of the indigenous company 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.

The items includes: 50 bags of beans, 100 bags of garri, 200 bags of rice, 200 bunches of plantain,  200 cartons of chicken, 200 cartons of indomie, 500 packs of 75cl lassie bottle water, 25 bags of salt, 25 cartons of palm oil among others. Though Aiteo had in a statement said it was seeking foreign technical expertise to halt the ongoing Nov 5 oil leak at the facility, the spewing well is yet to abate. The oil firm in the statement issued weekend by its Spokesman, Mathew Ndianabasi, noted that firm has intensified it’s response by seeking the assistance of other oil and gas exploration firms in the response to the spill. It was gathered that about forty communities have been so far impacted in the area while the escaping crude is gradually spreading towards the Kula axis in neighbouring Rivers State. The pace of response and inability of the oil firm to halt the leak after more than two weeks has further heightened anger among stakeholders wondering why the Federal Government is yet to send high powered delegation to visit the troubled enclave and reassure the traumatised natives whose means of livelihood have been destroyed.

Meanwhile Bayelsa State government has called on Aiteo Group to expedite action to contain the oil spill that occurred at its facility in the Nembe local government area of the state. The state Governor, Senator Douye Diri represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the call at the State Executive Council meeting in Yenagoa. Senator Diri who expressed concern over the spillage of crude oil and its attendant degradation of the environment, called on Aiteo to take urgent steps at initiating remediation efforts towards ensuring that the spill at its facility was brought under control. He further stated that government would embark on an on-the-spot assessment at spill site to assess the extent of damage caused by the spill nineteen days after it occurred. To this end, he directed the Commissioner for Environment, his Mineral Resources counterpart,  the Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Governor’s office; the Commissioner for Information, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security One (1) as well as the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice to undertake  an on-the-spot assessment at the spill site. 

Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm which acquired the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 following the 2015 divestment by Shell maintains that the leak was caused by sabotage by oil thieves who have become an obstacle to oil production and export from the asset. OML 29 acquired for about $2.4 billion consists of the 97 kilometer Nembe Creek Trunk Line which evacuates crude from onshore oil wells within the oil bloc and other operators to Bonny Export Terminal. An environmentalist and indigene of the area, Iniruo Wills, said “it is a reflection of a disconnected and dysfunctional governance in Nigeria that no high ranking government or regulatory figure at federal or state level has visited the site of this Tier-III oil disaster or the affected communities to get an on-the-ground view and send strong signals and assurances to stakeholders respectively. Official un-seriousness in Nigeria is mind-boggling. 

Former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Tarinyo Akono has described the 18 days old OML 29 oil spill as a national embarrassment. He said it was shameful for the company to come to the public to say it was seeking help from outside the country adding it was a product of the kid glove manner oil companies and the supervising ministry have been treating spillages in the region. The Project Officer/Head of Niger Delta Resource Centre at Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, Comrade Alagoa Morris, who visited the spill site also requested that Aiteo should take immediate steps by mobilising to site and clamp the ruptured spot on its pipeline and cleanup the impacted environment. He said the boom been set by Aiteo to contain the further spread of crude into the environment but added that it appears the pressure was much and the booms can’t do the work properly as seen.

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