By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) has insisted that the reported leaks near Funiwa offshore facilities off the Atlantic coast of Bayelsa State was not from its facilities and pledged to support regulators in tracing the source.
Fishermen in the area had on Sunday reported an oil leak suspected to be from the Funiwa oilfields. But the operator of the field, Chevron denied responsibility for the leakage.
Chevron, First Exploration and Production (First E& P) and Conoil Producing Limited have operations near the spill location.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) it was learned had summoned all the oil firms operating in the shallow waters near Koluama in Bayelsa in a bid to identify the source of the leaks which had polluted the area.
Mr Musa Idris, Director-General at NOSDRA had said that the spill regulatory agency would dispatch its officials to the incident site.
Mr Esimaje Brikinn, General-Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron in an update by email said that the oil firm remains committed to tracing the source of the spill and is part of a joint effort by operators in the area to investigate the leakage.
“The observed spill has been reported by CNL to the appropriate regulatory agencies.
“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.
“The observed spill has been reported to the appropriate regulatory agencies.
“CNL operates in strict compliance with the relevant laws and regulations governing the Nigerian petroleum industry and remain 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,” Brikinn said.
Chief Young Fabby, a Community leader in Koluama 1, one of the impacted communities said on Friday 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 there are yet to be confirmed reports that Conoil was mobilising an oil spill
“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 were high tidal currents at that time and it spread the oil ashore to the mangroves, we are ready to show the investigation team round when they arrive,” he said.