Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Ltd. says it is intensifying efforts to stop the ongoing leak from its operations at Nembe in Bayelsa State, which happened on November 5, 2021.
The assurance is contained in an updated statement signed by Mr Victor Okoronkwo, Group Managing Director of the indigenous firm, and made available to newsmen on Friday, November26 in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The assurance is sequel to Wednesday’s visit by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, to the incident site to convey the concerns of the Federal Government on the pollution.
Aiteo said that foreign technical well control experts are already on the incident site while specialised equipment to plug the leaking well were arriving the spill site within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29.
“All relevant personnel and experts, local and international, are now on location.
“The marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes, and firefighting equipment are 100% mobilised and have set sail to location.
“Two units of 1,000 Metric Tones capacity Ramp barge (vessel), containing simulation equipment for the well kill also sailed today.
“Simultaneously, concurrent activities, including spotting and hook up of hoses, are ongoing on the barges to minimise clean up downtime.
“Loading of additional equipment being mobilised from Snake Island underway and it is expected to arrive staging area in Santa Barbra by 12:00hrs on 26 November, 2021,” Aiteo stated.
According to the statement, additional relief materials, including mosquito nets, hygiene and sanitary kits, disinfectants and food stuffs are being mobilised to the immediate communities affected by the spill.
It said that Aiteo officials are closely monitoring all activities related to the affected communities, including feeding, lighting, hygiene, drinking water and medical requirements with the help of local associations.
The statement added that Aiteo Health Safety and Environment teams are monitoring the quality of air every six hours to ascertain the livability of the areas adjoining the incident site.
Meanwhile, residents at Odioma in neighbouring Brass Local Government Area in Bayelsa reported that crude from the site had hit the Atlantic coastline.
Mr Iniruo Wills, an environmentalist who gave information on the further spread of crude, urged the Bayelsa government to rise to the occasion and assist the affected victims.
Wills, a former Commissioner for Environment in Bayelsa, said the spilled crude has spread from the Santa Barbra River, Nembe creeks, into the Atlantic ocean forming sludge at the coastline.
“The Bayelsa State Oil and Environment Commission, led by Archbishop John Sentamu, has a moral and public obligation to the people of Bayelsa State.
“It is not a choice anymore, not only speak up but to act now on this totally avoidable catastrophe and the present status of the assignment, it started in earnest almost three years ago,” Wills said.
The Bayelsa government on Wednesday set up a seven-man committee to visit the spill site for an on-the-spot assessment of the impact of the spill on victims.
However, when contacted for a reaction on the the reported further spread of crude, Mr Mathew Ndianabasi, Spokesman for Aiteo, said that the claimed sludge was not from its operations.
“The Santa Barbra field is not in the Atlantic ocean, the location is onshore and there have been so many spills from other sources, those sludges have been there before the current incident,” Ndianabasi said.
By Nathan Nwakamma