The crude oil spills which are spewing from three ruptured spots at an oil facility owned by Nigerian Agip Oil Company is believed to have been caused by suspected oil thieves.
Two of the spots, it was learnt, have been discharging crude into the environment since March 21, while the third is discharging gas.
A field report by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, said the spills occurred on two different pipelines within the oil field operated by Agip in the area.
The report, by Mr. Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations in ERA/FoEN’s Bayelsa office, noted that the oil thieves had excavated the earth to expose the pipelines which they abandoned after their illicit act.
According to ERA/FoEN, the spills were reported to it by members of the community and it dispatched its field monitors to the spills location.
He said: ”The spills were discovered on March 21, by Mr. Washington Odoyibo from Ikarama community while he was going to assist a friend on a fishing expedition. He promptly called the Yenagoa office of ERA/FoEN to complain of the predicament that had befallen his people and ERA/FoEN mobilised to site and returned with these findings,” the report said.
ERA/FoEN expressed concern over the negative impact of the ongoing pollution of the environment by both crude oil and gas leaks and urged the management of Agip to urgently clamp the leak.
It recommended a prompt clean up and remediation of the spill impacted site and urged the oil firm to take steps to secure its facility from vandals.
At press time, members of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, led by the Chairman, Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd), on a two-day visit to the state to inspect impacted sites, were expected to visit the troubled community.
Ikarama community has been described as one community that has witnessed more oil crude spills than any other oil producing community in the Niger Delta region by environmental groups.
– Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard