A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Investigation ongoing on Aiteo’s Nembe creek fire incident

Investigation ongoing on Aiteo's Nembe creek fire incident
*Firefighters battle to contain Nembe Creek oil pipeline fire.

Mkpoikana Udoma

10 March 2019, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — An investigation is open and ongoing to ascertain the remote cause of the fire incident at Nembe Creek Well 7, operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, in Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Recall that on Saturday, March 2, 2019, a massive fire explosion which burned for hours, occurred at one of the oil facilities operated by Aiteo in Nembe, which was mistaken to have come from Aiteo operated 97 kilometres Nembe Creek Trunkline, NCTL.

Aiteo management who confirmed the incident had clarified that the fire explosion did not emanate from nor involve NCTL, rather the fire was within the vicinity of its Nembe Creek Well 7, behind Mile 1 Community in Bayelsa State, which is not too far from its field logistics base in the area.

Aiteo had also said preliminary investigations reveal that there were no fatalities, bodily injuries or damage to the community’s property as a result of the fire incident.

But after several controversies, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, had confirmed that a Joint Investigation Visit, JIV team which consist of regulators, government representatives, community representatives, the facility operator, and other stakeholders, would visit the incident site on Thursday, 7th March 2019.

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The JIV team was expected to ascertain the remote cause of the fire as well as inspect the extent of the damage.

Although NOSDRA and Aiteo are yet to officially disclosed the outcome of the joint investigation visit but a member of the JIV team told our correspondent that the JIV was not rounded up on Thursday.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the investigation is still open, as there was a need for more technical assessment to understand the cause of the fire explosion.

According to him, “JIV was okay, but not rounded up as we progressed with physical inspections.

“There appears the need for a more detailed and technical assessment to understand the primary cause of incident prior to the explosion that is more visible at the moment on the riser.

“The investigation, therefore, requires further details and is still open.

The source also confirmed that activities have resumed on the Nembe Creek Trunkline, NCTL, which hitherto was shut down on February 28th, for repairs.

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“NCTL is up and running. Leak sealed yesterday and activities resumed yesterday”

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