The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), has plugged the leak on its ruptured pipeline at its Taylor Creek fields, Kalaba community, Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa about one year after oil spilt on the facility.
Residents of the area said that the damaged point on the pipeline continued to spew crude oil and gas into the community’s environment since July 30, 2019, when the line was blown up by unknown persons.
The lingering oil leakage polluted and adversely impacted the area and dispersed wider by the heavy rains of 2019 as well as the perennial flood in Kalaba.
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Officials of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the breach was caused by a third party interference on the facility.
Mr Idris Musa, the Director-General of NOSDRA said finding but personnel deployed on a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) indicated that the vandal used explosives to destroy the pipeline.
Mr Samuel Oburo, the Chairman of Kalaba Community Development Committee (CDC), told NAN on Thursday in Yenagoa that NAOC mobilised to site toward the end of May.
He said that the oil firm had remained adamant and its belated response followed intense pressure the community.
According to him, the community pressurised NAOC through petitions to NOSDRA, the Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and advocacy by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).
“After the incident, we made a series of attempt trying to reach Agip through some groups, even NOSDRA and ERA/FoEN, to be specific.
“We believe the message was passed to the company by ERA/FoEN through the media.
“So, as I said, this spill happened on July 30, 2019, and they (Agip) came for repairs on May 31. Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was conducted that same day.
“But since it was a major repair job, it took them three days to complete the task. The maintenance job was concluded on June 2, 2020. So, you can see it took them about one year’s interval. Ordinarily, it ought not to be so.
“We wrote a letter to the regulatory agencies, NOSDRA and the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment and they came to the site,” Oburo said.
According to him, the JIV team was made up of representatives of the federal and state ministries of environment, NOSDRA and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
While thanking the environmental rights group and the media for the advocacies, Oburo urged the NAOC to clean-up spilt crude oil in the area “in line with industry regulations, irrespective of the cause of spillage.”
“NOSDRA and the Ministry of Environment should follow-up to ensure that this is done by reaching out to NAOC and the impacted community for confirmation on whether the environment has been cleaned up,” Oburo said.
Public Affairs officials of Eni, the Italian parent company of NAOC declined comment n the incident when contacted by NAN.
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