The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has confirmed an oil leak from its Idu oilfields at Egbebiri community in Biseni clan, Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa.
The spill which occurred on May 7, 2021 resulting in the shutting down of the facility, heavily guarded by soldiers.
The Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report on the incident, was traced to equipment failure due to a rupture at the wellhead, a claim corroborated by the community liaison officer, ThankGod George.
The company said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment, as terrestrial and aquatic life has already been badly affected.
The Italian Energy firm in a statement made available on Wednesday, said:
“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,”.
Reacting to the development, an environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said the incident which discharged crude and associated gas had severely polluted the environment.
The group stated 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 impact.
A field report on the spill signed by Alagoa Morris, head of field operations at ERA/FoEN, said 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,”
the group said.