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NUPRC lists action plans for Santa Barbara oil spill

Oil spill

Amid seeming helplessness and incapacity to control the situation, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has outlined action plans to deal with the recent oil spill in Santa Barbara, Nembe, Bayelsa at an Aiteo facility, as investigation into the cause(s) of the spill continues.

on November 5, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), Operator of the NNPC /Aiteo Joint Venture of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, reported a hydrocarbon well head leak in its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Thereafter, the oil company has been unable to control the situation, a development that has got industry observers worried as well as the host communities, whose environment is being degraded daily while the spill lasts and attendant loss of livelihoods. 

However, the Commission Chief Executive (CCE), NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, reassured that measures are being taken to tackle the spill and listed the action plans as follows:

  • Aiteo to activate emergency Environmental Management Plan (EMP);
  • AITEO to carry out Post Impact Assessment (PIA) study of the spill; and,
  • Joint Investigation Team to determine cause of spill and to convey the extent of impact and quantity of crude spilled.

Komolafe said that these measures will be put in place as the Commission continues to investigate and monitor the situation, according to a statement yesterday.

He also said the Commission received a report of the spill, which occurred at the Santa Barbara Well via the statutory regulatory requirement of submission of Form A by Aiteo, and immediately swung into action to investigate the incident in conjunction with other stakeholders.

The Commission will ensure that all necessary steps in line with global best practices will be deployed in the management of the situation.

He assured that the Commission will ensure that all necessary steps in line with global best practices will be deployed in the management of the situation.

He added that NUPRC will ensure that the spill has the least impact on the environment and the livelihood of the people of the community as remediation will be done as soon as possible.

He reiterated that the result of the investigation into the incident will be communicated to the public when concluded.

Aiteo’s response

Besides promptly notifying the relevant authorities calling “for a Joint Inspection Visit (JIV),” Aiteo is still unable to determine the cause of the leak “due to the high-pressure effusion.” This caused the JIV team to abort the inspection.

In a statement on Monday, the company said “attention has been focused on containing the consequences of this most undesirable and unforeseen incident.”

The company also said it “has sought, become involved with and is now in active collaboration with Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) that has since mobilized to site.”  

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