Minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday visited the site of the raging oil spill OML 29 Oil at Sancta Barbara in Nembe, Nembe local government area of Bayelsa State.
The spill, which is from the oil field belonging to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), has been ongoing for over three weeks.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday directed Sylva to proceed to Nembe to assess the situation.
Sylva, who landed in Nembe in a helicopter at about 12.40pm in company with the member representing Nembe/Brass Federal Constituency, Israel Sunny Goli, and the CEO Upstream Regulatory Commission, said Buhari is feeling the pain of the people of the affected communities and Local Government council.
He said, “It is a very sad development but these things happen. They are operational hazards of the business. Mr President is very concerned personally and that is why he asked us to come and inspect and make sure that the appropriate action is taken to ameliorate the situation.
“It is not just me that feels their pain and that is why he personally instructed me and the CEO of the Upstream Regulatory Authority to come and actually assess the situation and take appropriate actions to ensure the people are taken care of.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that earlier in November, the indigenes of Nembe Communities in Bayelsa State were thrown into panic over a massive leakage from the production oil well also known as OML 29 located along the Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The indigenes of the community in a video posted to LEADERSHIP alleged that the massive spill ,if not checked may lead to massive outburst of fire.
But reacting to the development, the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC /Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29 , while describing the incident stated that the magnitude of the incident is of an extremely high order.
According to Aiteo, though the oil spill is from a non-producing well head,” 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 well head”
In the statement issued via electronic mail and signed by its media contact, Ndiana Mathew, the Aiteo stated that “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”
The Aiteo Group CEO Mr. Benedict Peters, who led a delegation of senior personnel to the stakeholders in Nembe kingdom and the Traditional Ruler of Opu-Nembe, His Royal Majesty, King Biobelemoye Josiah Ogbodo VIII, his council of chiefs and all sections of the society, confirmed that the oil multinational had made available, for the use of the communities, relief materials aimed at ameliorating the direct consequences of the incident.