In keeping with its promise of containing the oil spill in one of its facilities in the Niger Delta area, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC/Aìteo Joint Venture on OML 29, has said that it has reached an advanced stage to cap the broken wellhead at its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Aiteo had on Wednesday assured the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva that the gushing wellhead would be secured within 48 hours in view of the progress its team of technical experts had made.
GMD, Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Limited, Aiteo Victor Okoronkwo, had said in a statement that the containment exercise continues, with booms and environmental barges mopping up spilled crude. It also said that all relevant personnel and experts, local and international, are now on location, adding that marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes and firefighting equipment are 100 per cent mobilised and have started to sail to location.
Chief Operations Officer, Aiteo, Ewarezi Useh, who debriefed the Minister on the pre-kill well assessment by Boots & Coots, assured that the well would be secured within 48 hours of his visit.
The statement reads in part: “Following the visitation of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and other dignitaries to take stock of the situation at ground zero yesterday, on-going efforts are being undertaken to cap the well at its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“The Honourable Minister, Timipre Silva, had detailed discussions with the Aiteo intervention team on ground, led by its Chief Operations Officer, Ewarezi Useh who debriefed him on the pre-kill well assessment by Boots & Coots, assuring him that the well would be secured within 48 hours of his visit.
“Afterwards, he had a Town Hall meeting with the Opu-Nembe Kingdom where he and other leaders of regulatory agencies held a detailed interaction with the people.
“Together with the company they assured them that their concerns and grievances will be addressed, while investigations take off upon the killing of the well.
“The containment exercise continues, with booms and environmental barges mopping up spilled crude. All relevant personnel and experts, local and international are now on location. The marine spread carrying the pumps, chemicals, cranes and firefighting equipment are 100% mobilized and have started to sail to location.
“The crew will night stop at KM45 and take off again first light tomorrow with ETA 12noon on site 2 x 1000MT Ramp barge containing simulation equipment for the well kill also sailed today while sailing, concurrent activities are on-going on the barges to minimize clean up downtime, (spotting and hook up of hoses).
“At SBAS-1 the well control package was transferred onto the well platform and the crew carried out an inspection with the Xmas tree and identified THS (tubing Head Spool) to be 2-1/16”. We commenced RU (rig-up) but could not finish due to bad weather. Forward plan complete RU and install a well control package to arrest the flow.
Giving a specific update on site Status/Fire Status in Well & Vicinity, the statement said there is currently no fire at or within the vicinity of the well. The Environmental Impact Assessment in the vicinity of the area is in the planning phase with DPR / NOSDRA accredited firms.
On its update on efforts to kill the well, the statement stated that ateam comprising members from Aiteo Well Operations and Boots & Coot is at the well site for site preparation for well control operation.
The company informed that connection of suction and delivery lines of two high discharge water pumps, to be used for well control operation is completed, adding that commissioning of the pumps is in progress. It added that the civil work for development of debris lay down area and bunk house placement area is in progress.
On Relief and Recovery, it further said “Relief materials, viz. Mosquito Net, Hygiene and Sanitary Kits, Disinfectants, food materials, are being mobilised to the immediate communities impacted by the spill”.
Aiteo officials are closely monitoring all activities related to the affected communities, viz. feeding, lighting, hygiene, drinking water and medical requirements with the help of local associations.