06 March 2019, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, on Tuesday, accused Aiteo of frustrating its efforts at investigating the cause of explosion within the vicinity of OML 29, Nembe Creek Well 7, behind Mile 1 Community in Bayelsa State last Friday.
In a statement, Francis Umeh, head of NOSDRA’s field Office in Bayelsa said the operator of the field did not allow its officials to visit the site of the explosion.
Aiteo, the operator of the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunk Line, NCTL, had, after the explosion, released a statement saying its team had been able to gain access to the wellhead where the explosion occurred, adding the cause of fire incident was being investigated.
The firm said there was no loss of life.
“Preliminary investigations confirm that there were no fatalities; human incidents or damage to community property,” the company said.
“All the wells and facilities in the immediate vicinity have been inspected and secured. This incident did not occur at or involve any part of the 97-kilometre pipeline, Nembe Creek Trunk Line, NCTL, or other pipelines.
“It is important to note that prior to this incident, all facilities have been shut down since 28 of February 2019 due to NCTL outage. Accordingly, any account suggesting that this incident arose from or affected any pipelines is wholly inaccurate and misleading.”
“We are continuing to work with all the relevant authorities to restore full functionality to all the relevant installations and affected areas.”
However, NOSDRA said Aiteo’s interferences was slowing NOSDRA from its duties.
“We are experiencing resistance from the operator and we are currently mounting pressure on them for us to be given access to visit the site for preliminary assessment and, so far, they have been uncooperative,” he said.
“The incident occurred on Friday and it took them some time to report it officially to NOSDRA. We had plans to visit the site but the operator is resisting and frustrating our efforts”.
“We are in touch with our Zonal Office and Headquarters on this and we are briefing them on developments.
“We also want to commence a Joint Investigative Visit, JIV, at once if the environment is conducive, it is the JIV that will establish the cause of the explosion and the volume of oil discharged.”
He added that NOSDRA is not part of the purported “investigation” being carried out by Aiteo.