An oil leak from Tebidaba-Ogboinbiri crude line operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company has discharged massive volume of crude into the surrounding environment, a field report by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said on Monday.
The report said that officials of NAOC had commenced recovery of spilled crude from Ikienghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The report signed by the Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said that more than 30 plastic tanks of 2,000 litres of crude have already been recovered by officials of NAOC.
ERA/FoEN regretted that a Joint Investigative Visit was yet to be conducted to ascertain the cause of the leak and therefore urged the management of NAOC to urgently convene a JIV to the spill impacted site.
Community sources at Ikienghenbiri said the development had crippled economic activities in the predominant fishing and farming coastal settlement.
They said that oil recovery was still ongoing at the spill site.
A former Community Development Committee Chairman in Ikienghenbiri, Mr. Marshall Josiah, said that the community had reported the incident promptly but the oil firm delayed its response resulting to the massive leakage.
He said, “Due to the high volume of crude oil leakage, they have not been able to commence the process of clamping the ruptured point.
“They are looking for a way to evacuate the crude oil from the place to enable them access the oil bearing pipe and repair it.
“That is what they are doing now; recovery of spilled crude oil. No JIV has been done on this particular spill incident.
“I saw several Geepee (plastic) tanks being used for the recovery.
“From my observation it may take them up to two or three months to conclude that task, while much of the surrounding bush/ swamp have been completely polluted.”
The community leader regretted that the pollution had depleted the arable land and fishing grounds available to Ikienghenbiri for fishing and farming.
He called for urgent steps to bring relief to the people affected by the spill.
Officials of NAOC declined comments when contacted for comments.
The Media Relations Manager at Eni, parent company of NAOC, Mr. Filippo Cotalinni, is yet to respond to a request for comments on the incident.