20 February 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) has begun drilling a relief well to seal the shallow water Funiwa 1A natural gas well.
A statement released by the company disclosed that the relief well is being drilled to extinguish a fire that began January 16 at the original well, approximately six miles (10 km) off the coast of Nigeria.
Chevron drilling plans will enable the cementing and abandonment of the Funiwa 1A well. The relief well is being drilled by the Transocean Baltic rig with approvals from Nigerian authorities
“CNL shares the concerns of the people of Nigeria about this incident. We have engaged with residents of the shoreline communities to listen to their concerns, explain what has happened and demonstrate our extensive response,” Andrew Fawthrop, chairman and managing director of Chevron’s Nigeria/Mid-Africa business unit disclosed.
The company said it continues to conduct regular monitoring flights over the incident site and beaches. The water and shorelines have been extensively videotaped and photographed, providing recorded verification that they have not been affected. CNL employs 30 area residents to conduct daily walking inspections of 88 kilometers of shoreline.
Sampling and testing of air, sea/river water, sediment, soil, fisheries and vegetation is being conducted to determine any impacts on the environment. This analysis is performed by independent environmental consultant, Fugro Nigeria Limited.
The company also disclosed that muddiness is visible in the seawater close to the incident site due to agitation of the seafloor from escaping natural gas. The gas is being burned at the surface by a fire which has reduced substantially since the start of the incident. The company affirms that no oil was spilled or has flowed from this natural gas well.
The statement also disclosed that onshore air testing has not found any detectable levels of pollutants from the natural gas fire. The company also regularly monitors the air at its offshore rigs and platforms. This monitoring shows normal air quality. CNL notes that none of its workers on facilities nearest the incident site have reported any airborne health issues.
Chevron has participated in over 15 meetings with government officials, communities, community leaders and development groups to share information and answer questions.
The company has also moved supplies of food to a dozen communities in the area to recognize the help and support they have given the company, while mobilizing medical support as an extra measure of assurance for area residents. This includes deployment of a medical team to conduct assessments and provide treatments as required.
Last week, the company’s managing director and federal government officials flew over the incident site and beaches, and landed in the community of Koluama to speak with traditional and community leaders. On separate instances, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and the Bayelsa State Government have also participated in overflight inspections.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels.