A massive leakage of substance suspected to be gas on a Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, operated pipeline located along Kolo-Otuoke/Bayelsa Palm Road in Ogbia Local Government Area of the Bayelsa State is causing panic among residents of the area.
Confirming the incident, an official of NAOC, who didn’t want to be mentioned said vandals reportedly blew off the gas pipeline a few days ago after it was fixed.
A visit to the site by the Head of Environmental Rights Action Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, Alagoa Morris, yesterday, said the leakage was the second in recent times.
It was reported that there was a battery connected with wire that suggested that it might be a sabotage amid reports that there was an explosion on Monday night, which might have resulted in the rupturing of the gas pipeline.
Morris said: “There are giant anthills on the Agip pipeline, which might also help the people to sabotage the system even in the afternoon to burst the pipeline because it will serve as a cover for the perpetrators.
“We have SPDC pipelines on the other side and Agip pipelines this way and both are running on the same line. That means there should be visibility so that people passing by will see any intruder whether in the day time or night. That could also send signal that something is happening here.
“And this is raw gas coming out from the geological formation. Knowing that from the formation we have water, oil and gas from several wells being channelled to wherever they are channelling it to which even make it more dangerous than gas flare in terms of impact on health, and can even result in fire if urgent step is not taken.
“In essence, what we are saying is that there should be enough security guiding the pipeline and that is why the recent contract given to some Niger Delta indigenes is very important and they should swing into action to ensure that not only the pipeline is protected but that the perpetrators should be apprehended and make to face the wrath of the law.”
He said National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, had already visited the site and hopes that other relevant agencies such as Ministry of Environment that had also visited the place will put a demarcation where people should not go as a result of the danger it portends.
A resident of the area, Mr. Kelvin Irhurhu, who raised concern over the incident, urged government and other relevant agencies to swing into action and stop the leakage before it resulted into something disastrous.
When contacted, the NAOC official said: “The Nigerian Agip Oil Company is working actively to depressurise the pipeline in order to affect repairs on it.”