A wellhead owned by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) has continued to leak oil in Santa Barbara, South-west Field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State two weeks after it was first reported.
The oil leak started on Friday, 5 November 2021, according to reports.
Residents who spoke with the members of the press decried the failure of the oil company to swiftly stop the leakage.
The residents said the continued oil spillage has been causing growing anxiety in local communities that rely on the surrounding land and waterways.
Similarly, the Bayelsa State Government, in a statement issued by Commissioner for Information, Ayibaina Duba last Friday had expressed worry over Aiteo Production Company’s failure to plug the leaks at its oil field in Nembe, two weeks after the incident was reported.
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa who expressed his disappointment “wondered why the massive spill has continued unabated, leading to extensive pollution of the rivers, waterways and farmlands in Nembe Local Government Area, even when the company’s management is aware of the situation”.
However, Aiteo, in a statement signed by its Media Contact, Mr Matthew Ndiana, said that it has engaged in technical responses to contain the leak.
The company also said that it had sought the collaboration of Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA), a non-profit umbrella body with expertise and resource to contain spills of this nature.
“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 mobilising additional resources to strengthen the containment effort.
“The required apparatus, including heavy duty and specialist equipment are presently being mobilised, 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.
But as of press time, there’s no respite yet for residents as the ongoing spillage has forced many out of their homes. Also, dead fishes are now beginning to surface by the river banks in the area due to the massive oil leak, reports say.