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Nigeria halts oil operation in Bayelsa

Felix Oloyede

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The Nigerian government has ordered AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd, AEEPCo, to halt the operation of the oil field in Bayelsa State on Tuesday.

A statement from Saghir el Mohammed, Press Director of the Environment Ministry, said this in Abuja, stating that the government has ordered that the company not operate in the area until a proper investigation is carried out and appropriate measures are put in place. to ensure the safety of lives. and property.

According to him, this is a proactive measure to address the recent unfortunate Santa Barbara oil spill in the Nembe local government area of ​​Bayelsa state.

“The Federal Government has ordered the exploration company, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo), to halt operations in the area until a proper investigation is carried out.

“In addition, appropriate measures will also be implemented to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area.

“It can be remembered that the spill occurred on November 5, 2021, in a form of a source in the vicinity of the Community of Opu Nembe in Well 1, Head of the Well located in the South Field of Santa Bárbara.

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“Upon receipt of the incident report, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was established comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

“In addition, on November 6, 2021, the state Ministry of the Environment, community representatives and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company were created to immediately address the situation.

“The exercise was inclusive due to the inaccessibility of the wellhead location due to hydrocarbon vapours that saturated the atmosphere in the area.

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“Consequently, the JIT ordered AEEPCo to close the impacted asset (wellhead) for an adequate response to the oil spill.

“Consequently, AEEPCo deployed barriers and skimmers to contain the crude oil spill.

“As of November 10, 2021, efforts to shut down the well have proven difficult due to inaccessibility.

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“Meanwhile, in an effort to safeguard the environment and livelihoods, NOSDRA Yenagoa field office staff were dispatched to the site to monitor and give a progress report on the steps being taken to address the problem.

“There are more directives for AEEPCo to involve all relevant stakeholders in the spilt oil recovery process.

“In this line, 3,000 barrels of emulsified crude have been recovered and they have been kept in a recovery barge.

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Additionally, the Clean Nigeria Association (CNA) system deployed additional barriers to work with the on-site reclamation contractor.

An additional effort resulted, as containment and recovery within the area of ​​the leak have been strengthened by November 15, ”he said.

Mohammed said the CNA has mobilized to the site to improve containment and recovery.

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He added that boots and coots were mobilized to control and secure wells and AEEPCo has secured a temporary work permit for expatriates who are expected in the country for the activity.

According to him, according to JIT reports, a well control company (Kenyon International) was at the scene of the incident to conduct an on-site assessment.

“Meanwhile, containment and recovery continue. It is instructive to note that the wellhead experts have arrived in Nigeria and will start working to kill the well.

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“However, in order to guarantee safety and guarantee future operations in the area by AEEPCo, NOSDRA has tasked the company with carrying out concrete actions.

“The action is to address the situation that includes cleaning up the impacted areas, remediation of the spill site, as well as damage assessment and post-spill impact assessment.

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