The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has confirmed an oil leak from its Idu oilfields at Egbebiri settlement within Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The oilfield has been shut down, the company said.
The cause of the leakage, according to the Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report on the incident sighted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), is traced to equipment failure due to a rupture at the wellhead.
In a response statement made available to NAN, Eni, parent company of NAOC, said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment.
The statement reads: “As soon as the incident was reported, we activated our oil spill response, shut in the well and notified government regulatory agencies.
“The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on the 9th of May, 2021, with participation of community representatives and the government regulatory agencies.
“The event occurred within the company’s well head location which is paved and walled round. There is no significant third party impact,” Eni stated.
However, an environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said that the incident, which discharged crude and associated gas, had severely polluted the environment.
The group said that a visit to the spill site showed pictorial evidence of the crude spreading beyond NAOC’s right of way as nearby vegetation was withered as a result of the crude impact.
According to a field report on the spill incident signed by Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, the Idu fields was notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.
“The people of Egbebiri in the Biseni kingdom have experienced several oil spills over the years. And all the oil spill incidents documented by the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in this community environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on Wellheads.
“ERA/FoEN has had cause to visit the environment of Idu Well 5 and 11 located within the same place in the past and it has always been Idu Well 11 spewing crude oil into the environment.
“Available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there have been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip.
“Before concluding this Field Report, ERA/FoEN confirmed that Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on Sunday, 9th May, 2021.
“This is why the official Spill Reference No 2021/LAR/028/058 is indicated in this report; sourced from the JIV report. Cause of spill was attributed to equipment failure,” ERA/FoEN stated.
The report quoted a resident of the community simply identified as Georgie as saying that the spill incident of May 7 spilled oil from around 10 p.m. till about 8 a.m. the next day before the leak was stopped.
According to ERA/FoEN, the resident said the level of damage was enormous.
“You can see the level of damage all over we don’t know what to do. But for now we are calling on relevant agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken so as to prevent the spill spreading to the water bodies in the environment. You can see all the trees are changing colour.”
“So, I am calling on Agip, the federal and state governments to come to our aid,” ERA/FoEN quoted the resident as appealing.