With the Nembe oil spill largely contained, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Ltd. says it is committed to provide additional relief support to impacted neighbouring areas in Bayelsa State.
The Group Managing Director of the indigenous oil exploration and production firm, Victor Okoronkwo, gave the assurance in Yenagoa on Friday.
The assurance was sequel to Wednesday’s visit by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, to the spill site to convey the concerns of the Federal Government on the incident.
AITEO said that foreign technical well control experts were already on site to continue the impact mitigation processes, while specialized equipment to plug the leaking well were being deployed to the spill site within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29.
Okoronkwo spoke on efforts by the company to continue to contain the impact of the spill.
“All relevant personnel and experts, local and international, are now on location. The marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes, and firefighting equipment are 100% mobilized and have set sail to location.
“Two units of 1,000 metric tonnes capacity ramp barge (vessel), containing simulation equipment for the well kill also sailed.
“Simultaneously, concurrent activities, including spotting and hook up of hoses, are ongoing on the barges to minimize clean up downtime.
“Loading of additional equipment being mobilized from Snake Island underway and it is expected to arrive staging area in Santa Barbra by 12:00hrs on 26 November, 2021,” he said in a statement.
He said additional relief materials, including mosquito nets, hygiene and sanitary kits, disinfectants and food stuffs were being mobilized to the immediate communities affected by the spill.
Besides, he said AITEO officials were closely monitoring all activities related to the affected communities, including feeding, lighting, hygiene, drinking water and medical requirements with the help of local associations.
In addition, Okoronkwo said the AITEO Health Safety and Environment teams were monitoring the quality of air every six hours to ascertain the livability of the areas adjoining the incident site.
Meanwhile, residents at Odioma in neighbouring Brass Local Government Area in Bayelsa, reported that crude from the spill site had spread to the adjoining Atlantic coastline.
An environmentalist, Iniruo Wills, who warned against further spread of crude oil in the area, urged the Bayelsa government to assist the affected communities.
Wills, a former Commissioner for Environment in Bayelsa, said the spilled crude oil spread from the Santa Barbra River, Nembe Creeks, into the Atlantic Ocean forming a sludge at the coastline.
“The Bayelsa State Oil and Environment Commission, led by Archbishop John Sentamu, has a moral and public obligation to the people of Bayelsa state.
“It is not a choice anymore, not only speak up but to act now on this totally avoidable catastrophe and the present status of the assignment, it started in earnest almost three years ago,” Wills said.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa government on Wednesday set up a seven-man committee to visit the spill site for an on the spot assessment of the impact of the spill on victims.
However, when contacted, the reported further spread of crude, AITEO Spokesperson, Ndianabasi Mathew, denied the presence of any sludge from the company’s operations.
“The Santa Barbra field is not in the Atlantic Ocean. The location is onshore and there have been so many spills from other sources. Those sludges have been there before the current incident,” Ndianabasi said (NAN)