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Oil Spill: We Rely On Empirical Evidence To Draw Conclusions; National Oil Spills Detection And Response Agency Says




A spurious claim by several individuals about the volume and cause of ongoing spill from Aiteo’s oilfield at Nembe, Bayelsa has been rubbished by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

Recall that Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC / Aìteo Joint Venture on OML 29, had in a statement issued on November 9, 2021, reported an oil spill from a non-producing wellhead in its Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

However, reacting to the spillage, Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, who visited the site on recently attributed the leak to equipment failure. He also alleged that about two million barrels of Bonny Light crude stream had polluted the Santa Barbra River and Nembe Creeks.

However, Director-General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa in an update video published on the spill regulatory agency’s website obtained on Friday, said that only a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) would determine the cause and volume of spill.

Musa said that such positions being canvassed by different interest groups were prejudicial to the statutory investigation which was hampered by the ongoing leak.

He stated that NOSDRA has been monitoring developments at the spill site while officials deployed to the spill site are keeping an eye on the oil recovery process.

He noted that the agency relies on empirical evidence to draw its conclusions and emphasised that until the spill was stopped and the affected well examined, it was premature to suggest the cause.

Musa said that it was also premature to estimate the volume of crude spilled so far given because the well was a non producing well consisting 80 per cent of gas and 20 per cent of crude.

Furthermore, he said that records at the agency’s disposal indicate that some 4,150 barrels of oil and water residue had been recovered as at few days ago, adding that a JIV report would estimate the total spill volume.

Recall that President Muhamadu Buhari had on Nov. 25 directed the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, to empathise with the impacted community and ensure adequate response took place

But the Global Director/Coordinator, Aiteo group, Andrew Oru, who visited the incident site on Thursday, said that the leak was being contained as foreign experts engaged to stop the leak were close to target.

Oru said that the pressure of the spewing gas and oil had reduced drastically while intensive oil recovery was ongoing to reduce impact on the environment.

He further said that the oil firm had sent a second batch of five truck loads of relief materials including food items, medical supplies and sanitation items to lessen the adverse impact of the incident on the people of Nembe.

Oru also said that the claims that an estimated two million barrels had leaked since the leak started on Nov. 5, were spurious and baseless.

According to him, verified reserve from the well was nothing close to the volume claimed.

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