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Aiteo shuts OML 29 in Bayelsa over oil leak

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture, has shut down the Oil Mining License (OML 29) over an oil…

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture, has shut down the Oil Mining License (OML 29) over an oil leak it detected at its Nembe swamp facility in Bayelsa State.

Aiteo’s Group Managing Director, Victor Okoronkwo, who confirmed the leak in a statement on Wednesday, said it was reported on Monday, June 17, 2024, during routine operations.

He said the company’s Oil Spill and Emergency Response Team was immediately activated and all production from OML 29 shut down.

He said: “This is a precautionary measure while mobilizing additional resources to contain the spill. The cause of the spill is currently undetermined. However, we are proactively engaging with stakeholders to mitigate the immediate effects.

“During our operations on Monday, June 17, 2024, the subject leak was detected. A Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) with stakeholders has been initiated to determine the cause of this incident. While we regret the production losses to the Joint Venture and the nation and the potential environmental impact, our current priority is to expedite an efficient spill management process in line with regulatory standards and collaborate with all stakeholders to restore production and mitigate associated risks.

“Our joint venture partners and the relevant regulators; The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) have been notified of the incident.”

The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) also confirmed the oil leak incident.

The Head of NOSDRA’s field Office in Yenagoa, Mr Solomon Ukponevi, explained that the agency has deployed its officials to the spill site to ascertain the cause and volume of crude oil discharged into the environment.

The 97 kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline NCTL) that hitherto fed the Bonny Oil Export Terminal in Rivers has since been discarded by the indigenous firm which acquired the Nembe god from Shell in 2015.

Following persistent vandalism on the oil export line with capacity to evacuate 180,000 barrels of crude daily, Aiteo resorted to using barges to convey crude from the Nembe fields.

The barges, smaller vessels, are used to transport crude from onshore oil wells to a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel from which Aiteo exports the Nembe Crude blend to crude tankers in the Atlantic Ocean.

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