The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), on May 12, shut down the Idu Oil Fields at Egbebiri settlement within Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa State.
This is because of an oil leakage from its Idu Well 11 Oilfield, which was traced to a rupture at their equipment Wellhead.
Eni, the parent company of NAOC, in a statement, disclosed that a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on 09/05/2021, with participation of community representatives and government regulatory agencies. It further explained that the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment.
According to the statement, the event occurred within the Company’s wellhead location which is paved and walled round; therefore there is no significant third-party impact.
In a swift reaction, 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.
Mr Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, said 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, noting that Idu fields was notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.
He further disclosed that the people of Egbebiri in Biseni kingdom have experienced several oil spills over the years and all the oil spill incidents documented in this community environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on Wellheads, adding that available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there has been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip.
Some residents of the area decried the level of damage and are calling on Agip, State and the Federal Governments and other relevant agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken so as to prevent the spill spreading to the water bodies in the environment.