From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
An explosion over the weekend has rocked the facility of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Eni, the parent company of NAOC, on Monday disclosed that the blast has disrupted oil production, cutting oil export from its Brass Export terminal by some 25,000 barrels per day.
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According to Eni the explosion was the second attack in a few days after an earlier incident on February 28 at its Obama flow station led to a production shortfall of 5,000 barrels per day.
Eni’s management in a statement also stated that the gas output of 13 million standard cubic metres per day has been deferred due to the incident.
Already the blast has forced NAOC to declare ‘Force Majeure’ on expected oil output at Brass terminal and gas feeds to Bonny NLNG and Okpai Power Plant.
Investigation revealed that the impact of the blast has caused an oil spill in the surrounding area with crude oil polluting the waters.
“An incident occurred on the Ogoda/Brass 24” oil line, at Okparatubo in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The event was caused by a blast, consequently causing a spill.
“All wells connected to that pipeline were immediately shut-in whilst river booms and containment barges were mobilized to reduce the impact of the spill.
“Regulators for inspection visit and repair teams have also been activated. State and Federal Government and Security authorities were notified.
“Deferred production is estimated at 25 kbopd oil and about 13 MSCM/d of gas.
“Force majeure has been declared at Brass terminal, Bonny NLNG and Okpai Power Plant,” Eni stated.
The actual cause of the explosion is yet to be known but the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) confirmed the Joint Investigative Visits on the two incidents have been conducted, but said that the field officers assigned were yet to file their reports.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General said that the two incidents were traced to vandalism, adding that 20 barrels leaked in the Feb 28 incident while 1,249.8 barrels were discharged into the environment in the second incident.
Already residents of the area, mostly fishing settlements are feeling the impact of the oil spill and have appealed to the government to help in mitigating the incessant oil spill in the area.
Mr Noel Ikonikumo, Chairman, United Fishing Union, Sangana said oil spills are threatening the major occupation of the people in the area.
“Whenever there is a spill, our nets and other fishing gear get soaked in crude and get condemned because you can no longer use them as the smell of crude scares fish away.
“We have written to the companies concerned to see reason with us and assist us but have not got any response, we are contemplating seeking redress in court,” he said.