NOSDRA Engages Well Control Firm At Aiteo’s Nembe Spill Field
……Aiteo’s operations suspended in OML 29
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), has engaged a Port Harcourt based, external oil spill control firm, Kenyon International, to commence the preliminary activities toward the management of the November 5 spill at the Southern field of Santa Barbara in Nembe, Bayelsa in the country’s oil rich Niger Delta region.
Reports say the firm is expected to have commenced work yesterday, November 24, 2021. A government source said NOSDRA mandated the company to carry out concrete actions to address the situation that include clean-up of impacted areas, remediation of spill site as well as damage assessment and post spill impact assessment, in order to ensure safety and guaranty future operations in the area by the indigenous operator of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29,
AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd. (AEEPCo).
The Nigerian government has also ordered Aiteo to stop further operations at the Santa Barbara oil field, to enable the new investigations and assessments to continue.
The well control company was hired by the Nigerian government based on joint investigation team reports, a government spokesman said. The spill occurred on November 5, 2021 in a form of fountain on within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.
At the height of frustrations with the spill last week, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) as well as Aiteo, both hinted that foreign assistance may be needed to manage the spill. NOSDRA is the Nigerian federal government agency responsible for monitoring and responding to oil spills in Nigeria.
The press director, federal ministry of environment, Saghir el Mohammed, said yesterday morning in Abuja, that Aiteo’s operations of OML 29 is currently on hold, ostensibly to enable Kenyon International to perform the assignment, and until a proper investigation is carried out and adequate measures put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property.
“The Federal Government has directed the exploration company, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo), to halt operations in the area until a proper investigation is carried out. Also, adequate measures will as well be put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area,” the statement said.
According to Mohammed, upon receipt of the report of the incident, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), was set up.
Also, the state ministry of environment, community representatives, and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company was set up on Nov. 6, 2021, to immediately address the situation.
He pointed out that the exercise was inclusive because of inaccessibility to the wellhead location due to the hydrocarbon fumes that saturated the atmosphere in the area. Consequently, the JIT directed AEEPCo to shut down in the impacted asset (wellhead) for appropriate oil spilI response.
“The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency through the Federal Ministry of Environment will keep the public informed of future developments on the spill incident with an effort to contained further spread and limit the effect on the environment,” the statement from the ministry said.