ERA indicts AGIP over oil spill in Bayelsa communities
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth has indicted the Nigerian Agip Oil Company over a major oil spill incident, which devastated the environment of Ondewari and Okpotuwari communities of Southern Ijaw Local council of Bayelsa State.
ERA/FoEN in a field report released at the weekend, following a visit to the site on April 9, said that the current oil spill has discharged over 500 barrels of crude oil.
The group said the spill occurred on March 5, from a spot on Agip’s Tebidaba- Ogboinbiri 14’’ flow line in the area that was clamped in December 2015, following an oil spill that was caused by equipment failure.
The report signed by the non-governmental organisation’s Head of Operations in Bayelsa, Alagoa Morris, noted that the oil spill happened after a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) had been concluded on the December 2015 incident due to “Agip’s operational negligence”.
“That spill of December 2015 was as a result of equipment failure and occurred at a 6’O clock position on the pipeline as indicated on the JIV report and photo evidence. The volume of spilt crude was put at three barrels,” it stated.
According to the environmental rights group, the recent oil spill from the same spot happened because Agip re-opened the flow line with pressure from the Ogboinbiri flow station.
“This is a first-party spill caused by the owner of the facility. Community folks alleged that this happened while repairs were on-going.
However, it could also have resulted when the pipe was cut open during repairs and some of the volume of crude oil on the pipeline rushed out.
“And, after Agip noticed the error, the company quickly dug some big pits in the environment to contain the spilt crude oil. When the community knew about the development and confronted Agip, the company’s official first tried to deny until some officials of the regulatory agencies waded in,” ERA/FoEN said.
The group claimed that presently, the spilt crude in the environment was being mopped and transferred into big Geepee tanks and pumped into a barge stationed near the Ossiama Creek.
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