NIGERIA – The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has announced a shut-in of its oilfield in Aggah community in Ogbia/Egbema Local Government Area of Rivers State, following pipeline leakage to forestall further damage to the environment.

A statement from Eni, the Italian parent company of NAOC confirming the closure revealed that NAOC got a report of a leakage from a well flow line on mid October 2019, in the southern part of Aggah territory, in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The statement further added that leakage was primarily bubbling of gas and sheens of condensate and the Oil Company had deployed containment booms around the leak spot and shut-in the well to stop the leak.

“Statutory notification was issued to Department of Petroleum Resources, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Rivers State Ministry of Environment for Joint Investigation visit before effecting the repair,” read the statement in part.

NOSDRA has since said that it was investigating the cause of the damaged pipeline and the possible volume of leaked crude oil at Aggah which had polluted the area.

The Port Harcourt Zonal Director of NOSDRA, Mr Cyrus Nkangwu, Port Harcourt, who confirmed the development, said the NAOC had reported the oil spill to the agency.

He said the area had been cordoned off to prevent further spread, adding that the agency had also deployed its personnel to the oil spill site.

“A Joint Investigation Visit team is currently at the scene of the incident and would find out the cause of the leak and estimated volume of crude discharged into the environment,” Nkangwu said.

The leak is coming barely one month after fire broke out from NAOC’s field in nearby Ubeta community in neighboring Ahoada-West Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Oil spills are a common event in Nigeria.[8] Half of all spills occur due to pipeline and tanker accidents (50%), other causes include sabotage (28%) and oil production operations (21%), with 1% of the spills being accounted for by inadequate or non-functional production equipment.

A reason that corrosion accounts for such a high percentage of all spills is largely due to poor maintenance of the pipes with some that were designed to last for 15 years still being use 25 years after installation.

Sabotage performed primarily through what is known as “bunkering”, whereby the saboteur attempts to tap the pipeline which can damage the pipeline leading to oil spills.