Oil Spill Forces Agip To Shutdown Oil Well In Bayelsa

By Yemi Akintomide

A fresh and devastating oil spill has been reported near Ogboinbiri, in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, at a facility managed by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

According to reports, the oil leak at the NAOC Wellhead 9 on October 17 was caused by technical failure.

The incident, “sprayed crude oil into the environment in gaseous form,” according to a field report released on Tuesday, in Yenagoa by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).

A similar occurrence had occurred around some of the oil firm’s wellheads in the vicinity, according to a report signed by Project Officer/Head of ERA Niger Delta Resource Centre, Yenagoa, Alagoa Morris noted that a similar incident had happened around some of the oil firm’s wellheads in the area about one year ago.

“The (recent) incident occurred on the wellhead operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in a marine environment, very visible from the community and commuters on the Apoi Creek; a short distance from the community.

“ERA/FoEN had reported a similar incident on these wellheads (three) about a year ago. And these spills, which are due to equipment failure, impact the one-way flowing Apoi Creek, affecting Ogboinbiri community and downstream communities like Keme-ebiama and others, all in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State,” it stated.

Clinton Oseke, the youth president of Ogboinbiri, confirmed the recent oil spill, claiming that Agip personnel arrived at the facility one and a half hours after the disaster.
“It (the oil spill) happened as a result of equipment failure, there’s no disputing that,” he said. The firm executives eventually postponed it, but the water in the creek and the air we breathe have been harmed. While crude oil flowed downstream, the smells in the air in the neighborhood surroundings lingered for several hours, causing discomfort to inhabitants.”

The environmental group demanded that the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) take efforts to prevent “reoccurring equipment failure incidents from Agip facilities within Ogboinbiri community environment do not continue without serious penalties against the company.

“Besides proper investigation and related actions to forestall further occurrence, the incidents should attract compensation, medical attention for victims and environmental audit.

“This is most needful as the community depends on their natural bodies of water in the environment for their water needs since their is no provision of potable water by government or Agip,” ERA/FoEN said.

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