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Oil firms deny responsibility for oil spill in Akwa Ibom

Major oil firms operating in Akwa Ibom maritime boundaries have denied responsibility for the crude oil deposits reported on the Ibeno coastline. Fishermen who operate in the Atlantic Ocean noticed the oil deposits last Wednesday and reported the incident to Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the Qua Iboe oil fields.

Mobil in a statement confirmed receiving the reports of the crude oil deposits, but said the source was unknown. “Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that at about 10 p.m. on March 24, 2010, it received notification from the community of hydrocarbon along the shoreline around Iwuokpom and Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State.

Immediately a team was dispatched to the location and investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the oiling.

“An early morning over flight surveillance was conducted and reconfirmed that there is no hydrocarbon release from MPN operations. Subsequent tests of the sample collected indicate that it is not consistent with MPN crude.  Our offshore and onshore processing facilities are operating at normal operating conditions,” the company stated.

Mobil Producing Nigeria, Total Exploration and Production, Addax Petroleum and Afren Energy, an indigenous oil firm, operate offshore Akwa Ibom. Sources quoted the other oil firms as saying that the spill occurred outside their operational areas and maintained that there were no leakages in their system.

The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) said it had commenced investigations to determine the source, volume and cause of the discharge. NOSDRA’s Director of Oil Spills Detection and Response, Mr Musa Idris, told NAN on telephone that the agency had received the report and deployed its staff to the impacted site. NOSDRA officials at the Uyo zonal office confirmed that laboratory analysis of the crude samples was ongoing in Port Harcourt.

“We have taken a sample of the crude deposits and we have dispatched it to our laboratory for tests to determine the source and we are awaiting the results,” the official said. NAN gathered that crude oil chemical “finger print” tests would trace the crude samples to the oil well where it originated from.


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