BusinessDay

Eroton reports second sabotage of oil assets within a month

Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited has said its oil and gas infrastructure has suffered sabotage, the second within a month, as vandalism worsens in the troubled Niger Delta.

Following their recent oil spill incident in Cawthorne Channel Wellhead 15 barely a month ago, the indigenous oil & gas company confirmed that the second wellhead in their oil mining acreage had suffered another incident suspected to be third-party interference.

As was the case with the earlier reported incident, this recent spill also occurred in the Cawthorne Channel field, wellhead 047 Long string (CAWC047L). The CAWC-047 wild oil spill was observed in the morning hours of Saturday, July 10, 2022.

CAWC047L/S is a dual string well, the Long String arm was shut-in in April 2020 due to flowline vandalization and in July 2020, the Short String arm was also shut-in for the same reasons. A distant look at the well shows the absence of some wellhead valves on the body of the XMAS TREE.

Eroton, one of Nigeria’s indigenous Oil & Gas Companies is the Operator of OML 18 on behalf of the NNPC/Eroton/Sahara Joint Venture.

Mercy Max-Ebibai, head of external affairs and corporate communications confirmed the incident, stating that the spill was observed at about 07:45 am coming from the wing valve arm of the CAWC047L, which appears to have been vandalised with the valves, control panels, bean-box, and actuators all carted away.

“The well was observed to be releasing an uncontrolled flow of hydrocarbon to the environment from the long string due to the confirmed compromised and vandalized Christmas Tree containment valves of the wellhead,” she said.

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She further said that despite the high-pressure emission of crude, the Eroton Emergency Response Team has been working around the clock to abate the situation.

“A quick intervention initiated to shut in the well through the master valve was abortive because the master valve appeared to have been compromised in a stuck position.

“The control line of the emergency downhole safety valve was also reported to be compromised, consequently affecting the activation, and functioning of the emergency downhole safety system,” she said.

In addition, Eroton said efforts are in progress to rectify all the faulty valves on the Christmas tree, which were found stuck in the closed position. A first response has also been activated for containment and recovery.

“Due to the administrative challenges occasioned by the public holidays, statutory notification to regulators can only be accomplished by Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

“An electronic incident notification has however been sent to the relevant regulators in the interim. Wild well control experts are expected to visit the site tomorrow to have an assessment of the current situation and design a solution to keep the well under control,” Eroton said.

In addition, Eroton who has just mobilized oil spill control vendors to the previous oil spill site at CAWC15, joins a long list of operators complaining of the anti-economic activities and sabotage by vandals and oil thieves with recent reports from industry regulator NUPRC, confirming the activities of oil thieves in Q1 of the year 2022 alone amounting to $1billion.

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