Yemisi Izuora/Joseph Bakare
French oil major, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, TEPNG, has claimed that the crude oil spill which occurred at its Obagi-Rumuekpe export line in Rivers State was due to sabotage.
Total General Manager, Onshore Production, Dr. Abdullah Inuwa, during an inspection visit to the site of the spillage in Rumuekpe, Emuoha Local Government, said a Joint Inspection Visit, JIV, made up of Rivers State Ministry of Environment, National Oil Spil Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the representatives of the community were at the site earlier.
Inuwa said Total is disappointed that a spillage would still occur despite the fact that there is a partnership with the community to provide surveillance over the pipelines.
“It was jointly assessed and this is as a result of a third party interference. We have the document from the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, NOSDRA, and DPR, and we all agreed that it was a third party interference; Something was used to hit the pipeline deep down so that the oil can come out.
There are two locations. At one, it was like a drill was used to perforate the pipe,” he said.
According to him,The company is actually keeping to its own part of the partnership of engaging locals and the host communities to care for the pipelines.
This is a way of empowering them and making sure that these things (pipelines) on their land, they will guide them jealously. But we are always surprised that, from time to time, these things do happen when the communities should have surveillance around the place.
Inuwa said the incident was the second this year and the last one was in 2008.
” We have two within the last three months, which is quite worrisome, but, this is something we need to do together with the communities themselves.
“There is a joint effort between Total and the community to make sure that this kind of thing does not happen. We have surveillance contract with them; our main concern is that they should be able to handle this surveillance within themselves.
In giving this to the community, they are taking an advantage of empowering them and also they are the people on ground and so they should be able to ensure surveillance.
After this, we will sit down and review the situation and then move forward and make it more effective, he explained”
Inuwa further stated that despite the extent of the damage, in monetary terms and on the environment, Total is committed to make sure that the environment is remediated no matter how long it takes.
On the quantity of production going through the Obagi-Rumuekpe pipeline so as to be able to assess what the company is losing per day.
He said: “Oil that passes through this line is about 30,000 b/p/d that we export to Bonny. Another thing is that we produce about 11 million Standard Cubic Metres gas we which send to LNG.
This gas comes together with the oil and so if you cannot export the oil, you cannot send the associated gas; that amount is equivalent to about 70,000 barrels and if you add this to the 30,000 barrels of crude, it amounts to 100,000 b/p/d that we are losing daily and that is the reality.”