Aiteo Sustains Response Measure To Stop Oil Spill At Its JV Facility In Bayelsa 

Aiteo reports oil spill in Bayelsa - The Nation Newspaper

Uche Cecil Izuora

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO),  said it has escalated both internal and external resources and measures to stop oil spill from its joint venture facility in Bayelsa.

The Oil firm which is in joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 on Friday, 5 November 2021, reported a hydrocarbon well head leak  in its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The well is a non-producing since Aiteo’s acquisition in 2015, and predominantly dormant, having been securely isolated since then.

Though, an accurate cause of the leak has not been ascertained as both priority and attention has been focused on containing the consequences of this most undesirable and unforeseen incident.

However,  since the occurrence, Aiteo has activated an elaborate and extensive spillage containment response in the internationally prescribed manner.  Though spills of this nature are not uncommon to the oil and gas industry, their resolution requires expert skill and equipment that are not routinely or readily available.

According to spokesman of the company,  Ndiana Matthew, Aiteo had initiated a process to first kill the well and stop the leak and then focus on the clean-up.

Matthew said that aside urgent possible technical responses to contain the leak, Aiteo has sought,  become involved with and is now in active collaboration with Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) that have since mobilized to site, in addition to Aiteo internal resources to  reinforce containment and recovery efforts.

The CNA is the industry non-profit umbrella body with expertise and resource to contain spills of this nature. In the meantime however, the area has been cordoned off and CNA is mobilizing additional resources to strengthen the containment effort.

 

He also reported that a well killing assessment site visit has been carried out  to evaluate the assets and earmark the resources required to bring the effusion under control.

The required apparatus including heavy duty and specialist equipment are presently being mobilized, locally and internationally, on a fast-track basis, to bring the well under control.

In addition, he said Aiteo has on-boarded the involvement of the renowned, Boots & Coots, arguably the leading well control company in the world, working with a local resource.

Upon this intervention and conclusion, it is expected that the persistence  of the leak alongside its functional consequences will be abated and significantly diminished.

 

Aiteo senior personnel have also visited the affected  communities and made available, for the use of the communities, relief materials aimed at ameliorating the direct consequences of the incident.

The communities visited include Opu-Nembe Kingdom, where the Aiteo delegation was received by the King His Royal Majesty, Dr. Biobelemoye Josiah Ogbodo VIII, his council of chiefs and all sections of the society.

He noted in his remarks that  “We are happy that Aiteo has initiated this visit to support the community at this time and urge them to continue to work with us as partners in progress on its corporate goals in the community.”

The Aiteo Group CEO Mr. Benedict Peters has extended his assurances to the affected communities and,  in his words, confirmed that  “…we are doing everything in our power to contain this spill and ameliorate the situation as rapidly, safely and responsibly as possible. We have mobilized best-in-class resources and expertise to put this mishap behind us. Be rest assured of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the ecosystem from its effects.”

 

Matthew said Aiteo is committed to ascertaining, immediately the well head is secure,  the immediate and remote causes of the leak which will be driven by a JIV that will follow.

“Nevertheless,  it is important that we affirm  our preliminary view, based on our assessment of the proximate circumstances, that it will be difficult to exclude deliberate tampering of the well by oil thieves attempting to siphon crude directly from the well head. In our view, sabotage remains the most imminent cause of this incident.” Matthew added.

 

Oil theft and asset vandalism continues to present  the biggest challenge facing operations in oil and gas production in the Niger Delta area and has continued to damage the production profile of oil producers in so many ways.

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