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Nigerian govt directs AITEO to shut oil wells in Bayelsa due to spillage

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The Federal Government on Tuesday mandated AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd. (AEEPCo), to stop the operation of an oilfield in Bayelsa State.

This was contained in a statement issued by Saghir el Mohammed, Press Director, Ministry of Environment, in Abuja.

According to Mohammed, the government has ordered that the company should not operate in the area until a proper investigation is carried out and adequate measures put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property.

This was a measure to address the recent oil spillage at Santa Barbara in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, he explained.

“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.

“It can be recalled that the spill occurred on Nov. 5, 2021, in a form of a fountain within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.

“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.

“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.

“Accordingly, AEEPCo deployed booms and skimmers to contain the spill crude oil from spreading.

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

“Meanwhile, in an effort to safeguard the environment and livelihood, staff from the NOSDRA’s Yenagoa Field Office were deployed to the site to monitor and give a progress report on the measures being taken to address the issue.

“There are further directives to AEEPCo to engage all relevant stakeholders in the spilled oil recovery process.

“In this vein, 3,000 barrels of emulsified crude oil have been recovered and held in a recovery barge.

Read also: Oil spillage: Hearing in Shell, oil communities’ case to resume in UK court

“Also, additional booms were deployed by the Clean Nigeria Association (CNA) System to work with the on-site recovery contractor.

“Further effort yielded result as containment and recovery within the leak area have been reinforced by Nov. 15,” he said.

Mohammed also said that the CNA has mobilised to the site for enhanced containment and recovery.

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