Onungwe Obe in Yenagoa
Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) said yesterday that oil spill near its operational areas at Funiwa off the Atlantic Coast in Bayelsa State was not from its facilities. But the company said it was ready to cooperate with industry regulators to trace the source of the spill.
The General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of the company, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, said the company has already reported to the regulatory agencies.
He said, “For spills found within an operator’s operational area, the operator is required to contain the spill, followed by a Joint Investigation Visit by all stakeholders for assessment and further action. No spill has been observed within CNL’s operational area but we are monitoring this incident.
“CNL operates in strict compliance with the relevant laws and regulations governing the Nigerian petroleum industry and remains committed to the safety of people and the environment. CNL therefore welcomes the involvement of the appropriate Nigerian Government regulators to determine the source of the spill.”
Fishermen around the Atlantic Ocean coastline had on Sunday reported an oil leak suspected to be from the Funiwa fields, which is near where Chevron, First Exploration and Production (First E&P) and Conoil Producing Limited have operations.
The Director-General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Musa Idris, had summoned all the oil firms operating in the shallow waters near Koluama in Bayelsa to join in tracing the source of the spill.
Chief Young Fabby, a Community leader in Koluama 1, one of the impacted communities, said yesterday that a joint team of Bayelsa Government officials, oil firms operating in the area have scheduled a visit to the spill site for Friday.
He said that they were yet to confirm reports that Conoil was mobilising to join. “We are hearing that Chevron has handed over the Funiwa field to Conoil and that is why Chevron says they are not responsible but we are not aware of any divestment yet. They have not informed us of the hand over yet.
“When they sold their interest in OML 83 and 85 to First E & P we were notified and we have even entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the new operators, so we do not understand their relationship, we however know that Chevron and Conoil share facilities.
“With the Joint Investigation Team visiting today, more facts will emerge. We are expecting the team to commence clean up and remediation activities even though the incident took place sometime around Saturday and noticed oil discharge since Sunday.
“There was high tidal current at that time and it spread the oil ashore to the mangroves. We are ready to show the investigation team round when they arrive,” Fabby said.
Conoil and First (E&P) are yet to respond to the incident.