Agip accused of negligence over pipeline leaks

04 April 2013, Port Harcourt – The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, ERA/FoE, has accused Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, of negligence in its operations with reference to the increasing rate of leakages from its pipeline on the Taylor Creek area of Ikarama community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

NAOC shut its operation in its swamp area oil fields in Bayelsa State on Monday, which produces about 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day, citing rising wave of illegal oil bunkering.

The company claimed that it was losing about 7,000 barrels of its daily crude output to oil thieves in the state.

However, ERA/FoE field monitors, under the leadership of Bayelsa State Coordinator, Mr.
Alagoa Morris, said in the report at the end of their tour of spill sites in Ikarama community, Wednesday, that though high incidence of oil spill in Bayelsa State involved two major oil companies, Shell Petroleum Development Company and Agip, the recent cases of oil spillages in the communities, including Ikarama, occurred from Agip’s Taylor Creek Wellhead A on the company’s pipeline.

“The recent spillages are disturbing as the incidents lead to further degradation of the environment and may even point to the existence of conflict.

“Due to constant oil spills, this community had recorded more deaths and sicknesses than any other community in Okordia clan, because sometimes, we inhaled the pollutants. Apart from that, the burning of oil spill impacted sites is another problem. When spills occur rather than them coming to clean up the impacted environment, they prefer to set such sites ablaze,” the report said.

The group said its investigation into the recent oil spill in Ikarama community showed that it occurred at two points close to Agip’s Taylor Creek Well A.

“The sound was deafening, crude oil escaping in gaseous form from a slit on the oil bearing pipe. Between this spill point and the next spill point was the Taylor Creek Wellhead A.

“And while the distance from this first spill point to the wellhead was about a 100 meters, between the Wellhead and the second spill point was about 250 metres apart,” it said.

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