Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Aiteo oil leak in Nembe worse than Gulf of Mexico spill: Gov. Diri

“Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life…,” the governor stated.

• December 2, 2021
Governor Douye Diri, AITEO and Nembe oil spill used to illustrate the story

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa says the ongoing oil leak at the Aiteo exploration facility in Nembe is worse than the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Aiteo oil leak was reported on November 5 this year.

“Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life, I have not seen such a magnitude of oil spillage,” the governor stated. “Our people are endangered. Our people’s source of livelihood is endangered. I empathise and sympathise with the people of Nembe on behalf of the government and the people of Bayelsa state.”

On April 20, 2010, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the “largest spill of oil in the history of marine oil drilling operations.” 

According to the EPA, four million barrels of oil flowed from the damaged Macondo well over 87 days and capped on July 15, 2010. 

“I like to give you hope that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Your government will activate every constitutional means to arrest and redress this magnitude of the oil spill. I, therefore, call on the federal government, the operators of the oil field, NNPC, and Aiteo to immediately look for superior technical know-how to contain and stop the spread of the oil,” the governor urged.

Mr Diri directed the State Emergency Management Agency and Ministry of Health to provide relief materials and healthcare services to the people immediately.

The management of Aiteo had visited the impacted community and donated four truckloads of food items, medical supplies, and a cash gift of N5 million and pledged to stop the leak in the shortest possible time. 

An oilfield operated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited has been spilling crude into the Santa Barbara River and Nembe creeks since November 5.

The management of Aiteo had enlisted foreign experts from Boots and Coots, a Halliburton company currently working to cap the leaking well.

Mr Diri claimed that an estimated two million barrels of crude had been spilt into the river, polluting the flora and fauna of the area.

However, sources close to the oilfield said so far, five barges of 1,000 barrels capacity consisting of a mixture of crude and water had been evacuated since the oil recovery commenced three weeks ago.


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