FG stops Aiteo from operating Bayelsa oilfield over spillage


The federal government has directed AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd. (AEEPCo)to stop the operation of the oilfield in Bayelsa.

“The federal government has directed the exploration company, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo), to halt operations in the area until proper investigation is carried out. Also, adequate measures will as well put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area,” said a statement by the Ministry of Environment. “It can be recalled that the spill occurred on November 5, 2021, in a form of fountain within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.”

The ministry said the directive was a proactive measure to address the recent unfortunate oil spillage at Santa Barbara in Nembe local government area.

“Upon receipt of the report of the incident, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), was set up,” the federal government added. “Also, the state Ministry of Environment, Community representatives and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company was set up on November 6, 2021, to immediately address the situation.”

It further stated, “Consequently, the JIT directed AEEPCo to shut down in the impacted asset (wellhead) for appropriate oil spill response.”

AEEPCo deployed booms and skimmers to contain the spill crude oil from spreading, and as of November 10, 2021, efforts to shut the well proved difficult due to inaccessibility, explained the ministry.

“Meanwhile, in an effort to safeguard the environment and livelihood, staff from the NOSDRA’s Yenagoa Field Office were deployed to the site to monitor and give progress report on the measures being taken to address the issue. There is further directive to AEEPCo to engage all relevant stakeholders in the spilled oil recovery process,” the statement disclosed. “In this vein, 3,000 barrels of emulsified crude oil have been recovered and held in a recovery barge.”

Also, additional booms were deployed by the Clean Nigeria Association (CNA) System to work with the on-site recovery contractor.

Containment and recovery are ongoing.

However, to ensure safety and guarantee future operations in the area by AEEPCo, NOSDRA mandated the company to carry out concrete actions.

“The action is to address the situation that includes clean-up of impacted areas, remediation of spill site as well as damage assessment and post-spill impact assessment,” noted the statement. “NOSDRA, through the Federal Ministry of Environment, will keep the public informed on future developments on the spill incident with an effort to contain further spread and limit the effect on the environment.”