The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says the two recent leaks from Agip’s oilfields in Southern Ijaw and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State were caused by equipment failure.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General, NOSDRA, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, May 23, 2020 in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Musa explained that officials of the agency conducted a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) to Agips 10″ Cough Creek-Tebidaba pipeline at Ologbobiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and found the cause to be equipment failure.
He said that officials of the agency also visited the 24″ Ogoda-Brass trunk line site at Okpoama in Brass where a leak discharged a yet-to-be ascertained volume of crude oil into the environment.
The people of Okpoama in Brass local government area had earlier sent a “Save Our Soul” message to the Federal Government, following widespread pollution by the oil spill in the area.
The Chairman of the Okpoama Kingdom Oil and Gas Committe, Percy Jerry Wemi-Kwomain, said that the incident happened at the Amangaetima bush near Ewoama-Brass.
“The oil spill occurred two weeks ago and it discharged enormous amount of crude oil into the adjourning creeks and rivulets, thereby affecting the environment and the livelihood of the people of the area,” Wemi-Kwomain said.
According to him, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) made two secret attempted to fix the leaking pipeline without a JIV conducted by the relevant authorities.
He said the efforts were frustrated by youths placed on surveillance in the area.
“Without letting us know, they came with a swamp-buggy to fix the leaking point. We stopped them twice before they came to inform us that they want us to join them for the JIV.
“The oil is still leaking and that was why we have sent SOS to the Federal Government to come to our aid,” Kwomain had said.
The community leader further noted that the high pressure pipeline was built since 1972 and had recorded failure in several points.
Reacting to the disagreement between Agip and the host communities, the NOSDRA director-general however told NAN that the JIV was done and concluded amicably.
“The host community wanted to be paid a fee before repairs. That was the source of the disagreement, but the matter was later resolved,” Musa said.
Officials of Agip however declined comments on the two incidents.
By Nathan Nwakamma