There was both fear and excitement in a non-crude oil-producing community, Otuabula ll, in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State as crude oil erupts in the area.
It was not ascertained if the crude oil was forced out of the ground by human or natural causes but it was gathered that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has visited the site and taken samples for testing.
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However, an environmental scientist attached to the NOSDRA Reference Laboratory, who also visited the site and pleaded not to be named, said the crude oil was fresh, indicating that it might have erupted through a crack in the ground.
He said: “When crude oil under the surface of the earth is overdue for exploration, it usually escapes through any crack that may have been caused by vibration. It usually comes out in thick bitumen form, so there is nothing strange about this discovery because it happens from time to time.”
A chief in the community, Augustine Okpukpu-Isi, said the crude oil was first discovered by a farmer somewhere in Iyapogo forest along the Ogbia Creek, who later alerted the leadership of the community.
Okpukpu-Isi said: “Many exploration companies had previously come to look for crude oil in our community without any luck. So we were surprised when one of my brothers came to inform us that he saw crude oil bubbling out of the ground somewhere in our forest.
“At the beginning, it was bubbling out with force but now it has stopped. So we have appealed to the government to come and take a look at it and find out if it can be drilled. In a case where it can be drilled for commercial purposes, please don’t bring a company that would come and divide us.”
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Oil and Gas, Chief Timi Seimiebo, who led NOSDRA officials to the site, assured the community that government would investigate the source of the crude oil and prevent it from polluting the environment.
“I am here with NOSDRA to take sample for testing, in order to get the signature of the crude. We are also trying to get the coordinated site to trace the Oil Mining license (OML) which the site falls under.
“However, our investigation revealed that there is no pipeline running through or bunkering activities taking place in and around the community.
“So for now, we would have to wait for the results to be out before deciding our next line of action,” he said.