The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has shut down its Idu oilfields at Egbebiri settlement in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa due to oil leaks.
The cause of the leakage, according to the Joint Investigative Visit carried out on Sunday, showed that the incident has been linked to equipment failure due to a rupture at the wellhead, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Eni, an Italian energy firm which is a parent company for Agip, said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment and that regulatory agencies had been notified of the incident.
The statement issued by an Eni Spokesperson 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 09/05/2021, with the participation of community representatives and the government regulatory agencies.
“The event occurred within the Company’s wellhead 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 leak, which discharged crude and associated gas had severely polluted the environment.
The Non-Governmental Organisation said that a visit to the spill site showed pictorial evidence of the crude spreading beyond NAOC’s right of way as nearby vegetation were withered as a result of the crude impact.
According to a field report on the spill incident signed by the Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Mr Alagoa Morris, the Idu fields was notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.
“The people of Egbebiri in 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 residents said that the level of damage was enormous.
“So, I am calling on Agip, the Federal and State Governments to come to our aid,” ERA/FoEN quoted a resident appealing.