Lagos — Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Exploration Company is yet to contain the oil spill at an oil well within Oil Mining Lease, OML 29 in Nembe- leaks enters 11th day, as SweetcrudeReports learnt that the firm could be forced to seek international help.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA on Sunday confirmed our earlier report https://sweetcrudereports.com/aiteos-banishment-from-nembe-one-year-after/; that despite being an un-producing well, the firm failed to cap the affected well hence; the cause of the leak.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa, told NAN that the leak was yet to be plugged as of Sunday, adding that the intensity of the leak was hampering investigations at the incident site.
According to him; the leak is still at a high volume, adding that the spilled oil would be recovered.
“Not yet”, he responded when asked whether the leak had been capped, adding that; “the Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA), an alliance of all oil firms operating in the country, has been called to beef up oil recovery.
“That effort is to reduce the ultimate risk and lessen the impact on the environment,” Mr. Musa said.
A statement by Aiteo’s spokesperson, Mathew Ndiana had said the leak occurred on November 5.
NAN reported that NOSDRA officials, who were deployed to ascertain the cause and estimated volume of crude discharged into the environment, could not conduct the investigation while the leak was still on.
SweetcrudeReports learnt that following the inability of Aiteo to stop the leak, it was definite that international help would be sought to block the leakage.
Oil spill incidents range from tier I, II and III. Category ‘I’ is a leak within an operator’s control, ‘II’ requires intervention across the industry, while ‘III’ is of international magnitude.
Mr. Musa said the incident could not yet be classified as a tier II spill.
“It is not yet tier II, but we are already prepared in anticipation”, he added.
Aiteo had said it has yet to ascertain the volume of the crude that had been discharged into the environment, describing the leak as “an extremely high order” type, and that investigation was inconclusive “owing to difficulties with access due high pressure of hydrocarbons from the well head.”
The indigenous firm had said it suspected oil theft and sabotage as the cause of the spill.
Aiteo is one of the indigenous Nigerian companies that took advantage of the exit of major international oil companies, like Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell that put up their Nigerian onshore licenses for sale. In 2014, Aiteo bid for and acquired Shell’s OML 29 and Nembe Creek Trunk Line for $2.7 billion. With its acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s 30% stake as well as Total SA of France and Eni of Italy minority stake in OML29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, Aiteo holds the controlling 45% stake in both assets, for which it paid $569 million for Total SA’s stake. OML 29 includes Nembe, Santa Barbara and Okoraba oil fields. According to Shell, combined production from the fields averaged around 43,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent in 2014. Aiteo holds a controlling equity stake holding of 85% in the consortium that acquired OML29. Other members of the consortium include Tempo Energy Resources – 10% and Taleveras – 5%.