The Arewa Consultative Youth Movement and Association of Northern Youth Groups, has faulted claims by Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri that the recent oil spill in Nembe can be likened to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico incident.

The OML 29 Wellhead in the Santa Barbara South field in Nembe, Bayelsa State, blew up on November 3.

Diri claimed on Wednesday that the leak spilled two million barrels of oil into the creeks, adding that it was worse than the Gulf of Mexico spill that killed 11 people and emitted 4 million barrels of oil.

However, speaking through their President and Convener, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf the groups noted that Diri’s claims were not the reality.

Yusuf said: “To show the extent of mischief, few have asked how many barrels the well was producing prior to the blowout. 

“Credible information confirms that before its shut-down prior to 2015, the well was producing 700 barrels daily.

“In the light of this disclosure, it is simply incomprehensible that there can be any truth to the volumes being misleadingly bandied about.”

The group condemned “attempt at politicisation of the spill”.

Yusuf said: “The OML 29 Well 1 platform, which is operated by Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCO), a JV with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) experienced a wellhead gas/crude blowout.

“On November 5, AEEPCO reported a major oil leak from its Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, the Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe, Bayelsa State from a blowout which was spewing oil into the immediate water bodies and contiguous communities and fumes into the air.

“Following available information, the well in question is a non-producing one in respect of which no production had taken place before 2015 when the company assumed operatorship. 

“Aware that the spill situation was time-sensitive and rightly so, Aiteo activated technical containment measures and quickly invited highly competent foreign-based technical experts  with experience of managing emergencies of this nature to help arrest the situation. 

“The firm has since mobilized to ground zero and has fully deployed measures  to contain the leak, including an effective fast-track spill recovery programme. “In addition to this has been high level, community-targeted measures that has been providing provide relief and health related support to those immediately affected.”

It said Diri, who is not a petroleum engineer, demonstrated “a disturbing disposition to his contributions to the public discussions by misguidedly alleging impossible scenarios”.

He added: “From a person in authority of such elevation, this is  extreme misinformation stemming from willful ignorance or dark motive.          

“To place matters in context, the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8 to 31 percent larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I Oil Spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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