• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nembe-Aiteo dispute threatens Nigeria’s 150,000bpd oil production

Nigeria’s oil output may decline as tensions escalate between Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd and its host community, the Nembe Kingdom, Bayelsa State.

The dispute threatens to disrupt production at the Nembe oilfields, contributing 150,000 barrels of high-grade crude oil daily.

The Nembe Kingdom, host of Oil Mining Licence 29 (OML 29), through George Kumo, its Oil and Gas Committee Chairman, issued a stark warning.

Read also: Nigeria oil production slumps to 1.25m bpd in May

Kumo accused Aiteo of neglecting the community and failing to fulfil its obligations. He specifically highlighted the abandonment of the near-complete Nembe Independent Power Project, inherited by Aiteo from Shell in 2015.

Kumo further alleged violations of the Local Content Act, environmental regulations, and disregard for community well-being.

He accused Aiteo of neglecting clean-up efforts following the major oil spill at the Santa Barbara Well 01 in November 2021, which devastated the local environment.

The community also expressed concerns about continued gas flaring and the presence of large vessels hindering their fishing rights. Kumo called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and environmental rights groups to intervene.

Aiteo, however, denied the allegations. A company spokesperson claimed they are actively addressing the power situation through temporary generators and supplying diesel via community-nominated contractors.

They asserted they provide 7,500 megawatts of electricity and emphasised collaboration with regulatory agencies regarding oil spills.

Tensions between Aiteo and Nembe have been brewing since 2021 over oil spill claims made by the community.

Read also: Low oil production threatening our ability to achieve 2024 budget revenue — FG

In November 2021, Nembe experienced one of Nigeria’s worst oil spill cases in recent years. The spill lasted more than a month and caused extensive environmental damage with more than a hundred thousand barrels of oil spewed into the environment, according to expert estimates.

Following the aftereffects of the spill, the Nembe community filed a suit, seeking an environmental audit of the impact of the oil field and the implementation of the social obligations of the host communities by the operator of the oil block amongst others.

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