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NOSDRA, Stakeholders Berate Conoil’s Insensitivity to Oil Leak in Bayelsa.

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The National Oil Spill and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and environmentalists, have decried the nonchalant attitude of Conoil Producing Limited towards the environment it operates in Akassa, Bayelsa State.

The stakeholders wondered why the company was yet to respond to an undersea leak from its oilfield in Akassa, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State
since 3rd of September, 2020.
Director General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, who confirmed the incident on the 2nd of December,2020, condemned the company for operating in breach of regulatory guidelines.

The agency said that the indigenous oil firm was in the habit of causing avoidable spill and had been sanctioned for degrading the environment.

“This oil company has been spilling oil for a period of time now. And we just got this report, from what we found it is from an underwater pipeline under pressure creating bubbles on the water surface.

“All the directives given to it to contain the oil spill, shut down and replace the leaking pipeline near shore in Sangana, Bayelsa State fell into deaf ears.

“The Agency sanctioned the company for this untoward act, but nothing has changed. The leakage continues and the oil company behaves irresponsibly even though it is a Nigerian Oil Company,” Musa said.

Bochnews gathered that the leak emanated from Conoil’s facility known as ‘Aunty Julie platform’ within Oil Mining Lease 59, at Otuo Oilfield.

According to information on Conoil Producing Limited’s website, the facility, a mobile offshore production unit commissioned in 1999 has capacity to produce 80,000 barrels of crude daily.

On its part, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said it is disturbed by the unsafe environmental practices at an offshore oilfield operated by Conoil, an indegenous oil firm.

According to the Non Government Organisation (NGO), the posture of the oil firm, despite regulatory sanctions leaves much to be desired ,as the adverse impact of the operation is borne by host communities.

in a field report, ERA/FoEN, noted that Conoil was yet to respond to an oil spill from its facility.

The report said that several communities near the oil facility in Akassa Kingdom environment in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa are affected by the leak four months after the incident.

The report ,signed by Mr Alagoa Morris Head, ERA/FoEN Niger Delta Resource Centre , Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the incident occurred at the indigenous oil firm’s Otuo Field Well 13 on September 3, 2020.

The ERA/FoEN report indicated that the leak was yet to be plugged and spilled crude was still spreading and polluting Akassa and coastal communities along the Atlantic shoreline.

The report quoted the Chairman, United Fishing Union of Sangana, Ikonikumo Noel, as lamenting that the spill had wiped out generations of fishes as well as adversely affected aquatic lives that constitute the food chain.

“The oil spill happened on Sept. 3, 2020. We have been looking for a way for Conoil to, at least, shut down the facility so that the effect would not come to us.

“Fishes are dying in Sangana coastline seriously. But the company doesn’t pay any attention.” Noel said.

The environmental rights group also quoted the Akassa Clan Youth Presidents’ Forum to have in a letter dated September 18, 2020 reported the incident to the office of the state Commissioner for Environment, but no action had been taken.

All efforts to get the reaction of the oil firm by e-mail, short message services and telephone calls to officials of the oil firm proved abortive.

Also, Mr Abiodun Azeez, Media Relations Manager at Conoil Production declined comments on the allegations of flouting regulatory guidelines on oil spills by NOSDRA

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