The Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCo) has said it did not stop the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency(NOSDRA), from investigating the fire incident at its oil well in Nembe, Bayelsa State on March 1.
In a statement yesterday, the oil and gas firm stressed that reports in some news platforms that scores of people were missing after an explosion occurred along the Nembe Creek Trunk Line(NCTL), the major crude oil pipeline traversing the Nembe area, was erroneous.
“Aiteo is the operator of the NCTL as well as the Oil Mining Lease(OML) 29. Further details on the incident from the affected area as well as statements from Aiteo and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have cleared that it was not a pipeline explosion, but a fire at a nearby oil well,” it explained.
Also, Aiteo stated that there was no casualty from the incident.
“This was corroborated by community people who later confirmed that there were no missing individuals,” the statement added.
It disclosed that Aiteo contacted the relevant agencies, including NOSDRA on the matter within 24 hours as stipulated by law.
A document referenced AEEPCo/PRD/2019/05 and signed by its Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Ukegbu reads: “Preliminary investigation suspects a possible explosion that resulted into fire at about 01.00 hours in the vicinity of Nembe Creek Well-7. By 01:30hrs, the fire has tapered down.
“It is important to note that prior to this fire incident, all facilities were shut-in due to NCTL outage about 17.00hrs on 28/02/19. We are continuing with investigations and further information will be communicated.”
NOSDRA had accused Aiteo of frustrating efforts to investigate the incident.
Head of NOSDRA’s Field Office in Bayelsa, Mr. Francis Umeh, had told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that the stance of the oil firm was slowing NOSDRA from promptly carrying out its mandate.
The NOSDRA field office boss also said Aiteo did not report the incidence within 24 hours of occurrence as stipulated by law.