Residents of Opu-Nembe community and its surrounding in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have deserted the community over the oil leakage from the facility of Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company.
The leakage, which started last Friday at the company’s Oil Mining License (OML 29) located at Santa Barbara South Field, is still persisting and have negative effects on the residents.
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Daily Trust gathered that the facility has leaked hydrocarbon into the community and affected the health of the people.
The spokesman for the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, Mr Ndiana Matthew, who confirmed the leak, said the preliminary investigation indicated that the incident may not be unconnected with crude oil theft leaks and sabotage.
He said: “Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29 on Friday, November 5, 2021, reported an oil spill from a non-producing wellhead in its Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“The magnitude of this incident is of an extremely high order.
“Neither the cause of the spill nor the quantity of leaked hydrocarbon could be determined at the time of the discovery, though containment booms were deployed and recovery commenced immediately around the wellhead.
“As an incident of this nature imports, the necessary Oil Spill Notification Report have been promptly communicated to National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and National Petroleum Investment Services(NAPIMS) as is required by regulation.
“Ultimately, a Joint Investigative Visit, JIV to the spill site was held by all relevant stakeholders, community inclusive.
“The JIV at the time, was inconclusive, owing to difficulties with access due to high pressure of hydrocarbons from the wellhead.
“Additionally, immediate efforts to control the leak were aborted due to the high pressure emanating from the wellhead.
“Consequently, Aiteo has mobilized a full intervention team with well control specialists and equipment both locally and internationally to arrest the leak.
“The JIV team commended Aiteo for its prompt emergency response and handling of the incident.
“Further investigations on the cause of the mishap are being undertaken and will be progressed after the well has been shut-in.
“Preliminary indications suggest that crude oil theft leaks and sabotage cannot be ruled out,” he said.