Prolonged crude oil spills on OML18, 29 facilities get Reps’ attention, as investigation commences

Solomon Ezeme

Worried by the environmental impact of crude oil spillage on wellbeing of the Niger Delta people affected by the uncontrolled crude oil discharge that has lasted for more than a week, the House of Representatives, has initiated investigation into the oil spills at Oil Mining Leases (OML) 18 and 29, operated by Eroton Exploration and Production Limited and another one operated by Aiteo Eastern E&P Company, respectively.

This was revealed in a statement by the House of Representatives during a plenary proceedings on Wednesday. The investigation, according to the House, will also uncover the status of all abandoned oil wells in the country.

Recall that EnergyDay recently reported that the Eroton (OML 18) oil spillage, which occurred on June 15, 2022, was, as confirmed by National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), caused by activities of vandals, affected the ecosystem and means of livelihoods of host communities.

A similar incident took place on November 5, 2021, at the facility of the Aiteo Eastern E&P Company (OML 29), lasting for 32 days, polluting the entire Delta creeks and making fishing difficult for people living in the area.

The decision to investigate followed the House’s  adoption of a motion by Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka, titled: “Urgent Need to Investigate Oil Spills at OML 18, OML 29, OML 63 and the Status of All Idle, Isolated and Abandoned Wells on Order to Avert Renewed Hostilities in the Niger Delta Region of the Country.”

The Representatives commissioned the House Committees on Petroleum Upstream and Environment to carry out a “holistic assessment of the situation”, to determine the magnitude, scope, and effect of the leaks on affected host communities.

The Committee is also expected to inquire the nature and details of the JV agreement between Aiteo and NNPC to determine veracity of ownership of percentage stake and financial obligations.

The Committee is to confirm the claim by Aiteo of engagement of a foreign company to stop the leak, the cost of doing so and the financial claim made by the oil company to the National Petroleum Investment Services (NAPIMS), as well as, examine the nature and details of the JV agreement between Eroton and NNPC to determine completion of financial and other obligations for ownership.

“Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka moved a motion on the urgent need to investigate oil spills at OML18, OML29 and the status of all idle and isolated oil wells to avert renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region of the country and it was seconded by Rep. Victor Mela,” the House stated on Wednesday.