Agip shuts oilfields in Bayelsa community over spillage

Nigerian Agip Oil Company has confirmed an oil leak from its Idu oil fields at Egbebiri settlement within the Biseni community of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report on the incident traced the leakage to equipment failure due to a ruptured wellhead.

Eni, parent company of NAOC, in a statement on Wednesday, said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment.

The statement by the Italian energy firm read: “As soon as the incident was reported, we activated our oil spill response, shut in the well and notified government regulatory agencies.

“The joint investigation visit (JIV) was carried out on May 9, 2021 with the participation of community representatives and the government regulatory agencies.

“The event occurred within the company’s well head location which is paved and walled round. There is no significant third party impact.”

However, the Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said the incident which discharged crude and associated gas had severely polluted the environment.

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The ERA/FoEN stated that a visit to the spill site showed pictorial evidence of the crude spreading beyond NAOC’s right of way as nearby vegetations were withered as a result of the crude impact.

The field report on the spill incident signed by Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Mr Alagoa Morris, said the Idu fields were notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.

The report indicated that “the people of Egbebiri in the Biseni Kingdom have experienced several oil spills over the years. And all the oil spill incidents documented by the ERA/FoEN in this community’s environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on wellheads.

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“ERA/FoEN has had cause to visit the environment of Idu Well 5 and 11 located within the same place in the past and it has always been Idu Well 11 spewing crude oil into the environment.

“Available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there have been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip.

“Before concluding this field report, ERA/FoEN confirmed that Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on Sunday, May 9, 2021.

“This is why the official Spill Reference No 2021/ LAR/028/058 is indicated in this report; sourced from the JIV report. Cause of spill was attributed to equipment failure.”

The report quoted a resident of the community, identified simply as George, as saying that the spill incident of May 7, spilled oil from around 10:00 pm to about 8:00 am the next day before the leak was stopped, adding that the level of damage was enormous.

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George said: “You can see the level of damage all over. We don’t know what to do. But for now we are calling on the relevant agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken to prevent the spill spreading to the water bodies in the environment.

“You can see all the trees are changing colours. So, we are calling on Agip, the federal and state governments to come to our aid.”

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