Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday, assessed the oil spill site of Aiteo Eastern Exploration Company in Basambri, Bayelsa State.
The minister, was joined on the inspection by Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), the traditional ruler of Opu-Nembe Kingdom, His Royal Highness King Biobelemoye Josiah, Mr. Israel Adi, member of House of Representatives representing Brass/Nembe Constituency.
Sylva said: “Mr. President is very concerned about the spill, that is why he sent me to come and have on the spot assessment of the situation. He feels the pains of the people and wants urgent steps taken to address the problem.”
He described the spill as a serious environmental concern that needs urgent measures to contain, noting that no stone would be left unturned to solve the environmental problem.
“So much damage has been done to the environment in the Niger Delta region and the government is very much concerned about this situation and would not allow further degradation of the environment, that is why government will take urgent measures to tackle the situation,” he said.
The minister disclosed that relevant agencies had been deployed in the area to tackle the spill, adding: “We will need to bring in supports to help us clean up the spill.”
Addressing the Basambri community after inspecting the spill site, Sylva said it was important for him to come to see things for himself to ensure that there was no problem between the oil company and the community.
He conveyed the President’s regrets over the spill and noted that “President Buhari will ensure the situation was immediately remediated.”
Komolafe said they were in Basambri on the instructions of the President to assess things.
He noted that as regulators in the upstream sector of the economy, the Commission would ensure operators operate within acceptable international standards that would impact positively on people in oil-producing community!.
Aiteo had, on November 5, reported a major oil leak from its Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, in Nembe, Bayelsa.
Aiteo acquired the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 following the 2015 divestment by Shell. The well was acquired for $2.4 billion and consists of 97km Nembe Creek trunk line, which evacuates crude from onshore oil wells within the oil bloc and other operators to Bonny Export Terminal.