Nembe oil spill: FG asks AITEO to halt operation in Bayelsa

The Federal Government has directed the country’s biggest oil-producing company AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd (AEEPCo), to pause operating in the Nembe oil spill area of Bayelsa State until a proper investigation is carried out.

According to a statement by Saghir el Mohammed, Press Director, Ministry of Environment, in Abuja, the federal government directed Aiteo to halt operations in the area until adequate measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area,” the statement reads.

Aiteo Group currently holds a huge stake in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector as the highest oil-producing indigenous company, with peak production of almost 150,000bpd, doubling its initial asset value to $6 billion within three years.

Delineating the steps that the government investigation team and Aiteo had taken to cushion the effect of the oil spillage at Santa Barbara, he added that there will be further curtailment measures to ensure that the leak was adequately managed.

“It can be recalled that the spill occurred on November 5, 2021, in the form of a fountain within the proximity of Opu Nembe community at well 1, wellhead located at the southern field of Santa Barbara,” El-Mohammed added.

Read also: Shell to pay N45bn compensation to Niger Delta community to end oil spill case

“Upon receipt of the report of the incident, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), was set up.

“Also, the state Ministry of Environment, Community representatives and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company was set up on Nov. 6, 2021 to immediately address the situation.

“The exercise was inclusive because of inaccessibility to the wellhead location due to the hydrocarbon fumes that saturated the atmosphere in the area.

“Consequently, the JIT directed AEEPCo to shut down the impacted asset (wellhead) for appropriate oil spill response,” the FG said.

BusinessDay reported earlier that Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company has revealed that it is mobilising technical expertise both locally and internationally to contain the spill at OML 29 in Nembe, Bayelsa State.

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