Italian oil major, Agip, is currently under intense pressure in Bayelsa State, to halt oil spills caused by leaks on its pipeline at Taylor Creek.
The foremost environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) has joined community groups in pressing the oil company to remediate the despoiled environment.
ERA which also doubles as Nigeria’s wing of a global federation, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), says site visits to the impacted area by its field monitors in October 2019 showed that the leak was as a result of vandalism which occurred around September 2019.
Head of ERA’s Field Operations, Alagoa Morris, in a field report notes that a pipeline breached by suspected vandals since September 2019, has been left to wreak havoc to the environment and residents near the oilfield operated by Agip.
Although the environmental rights group condemns vandalism and attacks on oil installations, it, however, points out, ‘’its devastating effect on the environment has made our demand for remediation of the environment by the oil operator an imperative.’’
According to Alagoa, “Inasmuch as we are not in support of such attacks on oil facilities and condemns the act; it is incumbent on the facility owner to take the necessary action promptly.
“This is where Agip should take responsibility for not clamping the ruptured spot and allowing condensate, crude oil, and gas to continuing spewing for seven months.
“Whatever steps Agip might have taken, provided this spot has been left bubbling for over half a year makes the company culpable.
“If the company has a reputation of not attending to equipment failure incidents for up to two months; then this is not about the cause of the incident but a corporate attitude which needs to change.’’
Those crusading for the remediation of the environment want Agip to take responsibility of the unclamped ruptured spot along the company’s pipeline in the Taylor Creek field.
They are requesting that Agip should take immediate steps by mobilizing to site and clamp the ruptured spot on the company’s pipeline and cleanup impacted environment.
“The industry regulators, especially the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the State Ministry of Environment should investigate this matter.
While they are urging the foregoing agencies to follow up on their demand in a bid to ensure Agip does the needful, they added, ‘’the state Ministry of Agriculture should also begin to take needed interest on how farmlands and fishing environment are impacted by pollutants in the common interest.
“The Yenagoa Local Government should follow up and, not only document such incidents but do the needful in terms of stakeholders’ engagement; including communities, security agencies, NGOs and e media.
Meanwhile, Agip is keeping sealed lips on the matter. Company officials declined to comment on the incident.