…….says only JIV report unravel cause, volume of spill

By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa 

National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has confirmed that some 4,150 barrels of oil and water residue had been recovered from the Aiteo oilfield oil spill as at few days ago. The agency said however that a JIV report would give a better estimate of the total spill volume.

The agency described as guess work all the reasons adduced by interested parties on the volume and cause of the November 5, oil leak I Nembe in Bayelsa state, which is rattling stakeholders in the Niger Delta region ever since 
While the Bayelsa state government attributed the incident to equipment failure, Aiteo officials claim the oil leak was caused by sabotage. Governot Douye Diri of Bayelsa, who visited the site on Wednesday, 25 days after the leak reportedly claimed that about two million barrels of Bonny Light crude stream had polluted the Santa Barbra River and Nembe Creeks.

Mr. Andrew Oru, global director/coordinator, Aiteo group, who visited the incident site, said that the leak was being contained as foreign experts engaged to stop the leak were close to target.

Mr. Oru said that the pressure of the spewing gas and oil had reduced drastically while intensive oil recovery was ongoing to reduce impact on the environment.

He further said that the oil firm had sent a second batch of five truck loads of relief materials  including food items, medical supplies and sanitation items to lessen the adverse impact of the incident on the people of Nembe.

Mr. Oru also said that the claims that an estimated two million barrels had leaked since the leak started on Nov. 5, were spurious and baseless. According to him, verified reserve from the well was nothing close to the volume claimed.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 25, directed the minister of state for petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, to empathize with the impacted community and ensure adequate response took place.

However, Mr. Idris Musa, director-general of NOSDRA, while giving an update in a  video published on its website said that only a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) would determine the cause and volume of spill.

Mr. Musa said that such positions being canvassed by different interest groups were prejudicial to the statutory investigation and are capable which was hampering stoppage of ongoing leak.

According to him, NOSDRA has been monitoring developments at the spill site while officials deployed to the spill site are keeping an eye on the oil recovery process. He noted that the agency relies on empirical evidence to draw its conclusions and emphasized that until the spill was stopped and the affected well examined, it was premature to suggest the cause.

Mr. Musa said that it was also premature to estimate the volume of crude spilled so far given that the well was a non producing well consisting 80% of gas and 20% of crude.

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