• CEO, Benny Peters ensures speed and ecosystem protection for affected communities.

Two weeks after the leak of a non-producing wellhead in the local government area of ​​Nembe in Bayelsa State, operators of the NNPC / Aiteo Joint Venture of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Co. (AEEPCo), announced several proactive measures to combat and contain the spill.

The wellhead, located in the Santa Barbara Southwest field in the Nembe LGA, was, according to AITEO, mostly dormant. The leak began on November 5. According to Ndiana Mathew, spokesperson for AITEO, said that upon noting the leak, “Aiteo notified all relevant regulatory agencies and subsequently mobilized containment resources to limit the impact on the environment. As required, Aiteo promptly requested a Joint Inspection Visit (JIV). Due to the high pressure effusion, the JIV team could not reach the location and this inspection was halted. “

“Since then, Aiteo has activated an elaborate and extensive spill containment response in the internationally mandated manner. While spills of this nature are not uncommon in the oil and gas industry, their resolution requires specialized skills and equipment that are not routinely or readily available. The typical process is to first kill the well and stop the leak, then focus on cleaning up. “

Mathew added that in addition to possible urgent technical responses to contain the leak, Aiteo has sought, got involved and is now in active collaboration with Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) who has since mobilized on the site in addition to Aiteo’s internal resources to strengthen containment and recovery efforts. CNA is the not-for-profit umbrella body for the oil and gas industry with the expertise and resources to contain spills of this nature. Because this was causing growing anxiety among local communities who depend on the surrounding land and waterways, the area has been cordoned off and the CNA is mobilizing additional resources to bolster the containment effort.

It was concluded that a well appraisal visit was carried out to assess the assets and allocate the necessary resources to control the spill. The required devices, including heavy and specialized equipment, are currently being mobilized, locally and internationally, on an accelerated basis, to bring the well under control. To this end, “Aiteo joined the renowned Boots & Coots company, arguably the world’s first well control company, working with a local resource. After this intervention and conclusion, the persistence of the leak and its functional consequences are expected to be mitigated and significantly reduced, ”said Mathew.

In addition, senior AITEO officials visited affected communities and made relief materials available for use by the communities aimed at mitigating the direct consequences of the incident. In the kingdom of Opu-Nembe where the delegation of Aiteo was received by the traditional chief, His Royal Majesty, Dr Biobelemoye Josiah Ogbodo VIII, his council of chiefs and the main natives and government officials, the king declared: “We are happy that Aiteo has initiated this visit to support the community at this time and urge them to continue working with us as ongoing partners on their business goals in the community.

Likewise, Aiteo Group CEO, Mr. Benedict Peters, extended his assurances to affected communities saying, “We are doing everything in our power to contain this spill and improve the situation as quickly, safely and effectively. responsibly as possible. We mobilized the best resources and expertise to put this incident behind us. Be assured of our determination to limit oil leaks and protect the ecosystem from its effects. “

In the statement signed by Mathew, the company said it remained committed to immediately ensuring the circumstances are better under control and determining the immediate and distant causes of the leak.

Further, “it is important that we assert our preliminary view based on our assessment of the immediate circumstances under which it will be difficult to rule out deliberate tampering of the well by oil thieves attempting to siphon crude directly from the well. well head. In our opinion, sabotage remains the most imminent cause of this incident, ”the company said.

“Oil theft and asset vandalism continue to present the greatest challenge we face in oil and gas production operations in the Niger Delta region. It has continued to damage the production profile of oil producers in many ways.

While we commend the relevant security agencies we interact with to tackle this threat, we believe the need and ability to deliver much more remains extremely critical, especially as there is still much to be done to realign the architecture of oil delivery and gas production infrastructure in Nigeria in accordance with the current industrial structure of multiple producers operating assets that were previously built and managed by a single producer. “

The company reiterated that it felt deeply concerned about the incident and that the circumstances and fortunes of the immediate community remained its most concerned consideration, which it said had assumed the highest priority while securing the well and its immediate surroundings.

“It is our ardent desire that, in achieving this extremely stimulating objective, the interests of the nearby community continue to be protected in all material respects by the collective efforts of our company and of all professionals in the industry including the participation Aiteo called ”, the declaration concluded.

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