[From CHRIS EZE, Yenagoa]
Amidst growing concern over the health implications of the oil leak at its Santa Barbra South field within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, the oil firm has engaged the services of international experts to contain the spill.
The spill was reported at the oil field located in Nembe, Bayelsa on November 5, 2021 causing massive damage to aquatic life in the area.
The outcry by members of the impacted community had attracted the attention of Bayelsa government which had reprimanded the oil firm for its slow response to check the leak.
However, in a statement on Sunday, Spokesman of the oil firm, Mathew Ndianabasi said that the oil firm has intensified its response by seeking the assistance of other oil and gas exploration firms in the response to the spill.
In addition to this latest move by the company, the statement pointed out that official of the indigenous company had visited the leadership of the impacted communities to show empathy with the victims and handed over four truckloads of food items, medical supplies and N5 million cash while it battles to stop the leak.
“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.
“The typical process is to first kill the well and stop the leak and then focus on the clean-up. 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 has since mobilized to site, in addition to Aiteo internal resources to reinforce containment and recovery efforts.
“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.
“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.
“For this purpose, 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,” the statement read in part.