Port Harcourt — Two weeks after a ‘mystery’ oil spill hit Foropa, a fishing settlement along the Atlantic coastline in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, stakeholders led by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, have visited the site.
SweetCrude Reports had reported fresh oil spills from a yet-to-be-identified operator in Foropa, which left the Atlantic coastline heavily soaked with crude oil since the 3rd of January 2024.
Officials from the Yenagoa field office of NOSDRA, Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, Bayelsa State Ministry of Mineral Resources, representatives of Foropa Community and all the six oil operators operating within the spill-impacted areas finally visited the site on Thursday, January 17th 2024.
Mystery spills refer to crude oil leaks from unknown sources where many oil firms are operating near each other.
Although the facility which discharged the spills was yet to be ascertained, six oil firms operate within the Foropa vicinity in Southern Ijaw, namely First Exploration and Production Company Limited, Conoil Producing Limited, NNPC E&P Limited, Shell Nigeria, and Nigdel United Oil Company.
The Head of NOSDRA, Bayelsa State Office, Mr. Chukwuemeka Iheanacho, said a ‘fingerprinting’ analysis of the crude samples from the site would reveal the operator whose facility discharged the crude into the environment.
Iheanachor explained that the joint team took samples which would be taken to the reference laboratory in Port Harcourt to determine the source of the spill.
Meanwhile, the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, YEAC-Nigeria, has berated NOSDRA for delaying carrying a JIV to the spill incident site, more than two weeks after the incident was reported.
The Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, explained that two weeks was more than a long time for owners of the spills to cover up their tracks and or pin the spill, which he believed to be an operational failure, on sabotage.
He said, “The long delay is a minus. What they (NOSDRA) collected as the sample is not enough to pin the spill on any operator. From my experience as an environmentalist, I suspect the incident may be an operational mishap like the TotalEnergies’ case.
“I have always said that NOSDRA needs to be overhauled, the agency is under-equipped. How can they wait till after two weeks to carry out a JIV? Two weeks is a long time for the operator to tamper with the evidence and cover-up, as we witnessed from Aiteo during their well blowout in Santa Barbar, Nembe in 2021.
“Meanwhile, on that same 3rd January 2024, a spill was recorded in K-Dere community in Ogoniland, but up till now, NOSDRA has not carried out a JIV, more than two weeks after,” YEAC-Nigeria said.