The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has debunked speculations that the country lacks capacity to contain oil spillages as witnessed in Nembe, Bayelsa State, insisting that there is adequate local oil spill containment capacity in Nigeria.
NUPRC in response to a THISDAY’s enquiry, Head of Public Affairs of the organisation, Mr. Paul Osu, however, stated that the country may need to build more capability to “kill wells”, maintaining that Clean Nigeria Association (CNA) has enough oil spill containment capacity, as is being demonstrated at the site of the Nembe incident.
Some communities in Nembe had recently been impacted by the leak from Aiteo Eastern Exploration Company (AEEPCO) Oil Mining Lease (OML 29) and the incident had been unabated for weeks, owing to alleged local capacity to contain it.
Halliburton, a Houston-based firm’s Boots & Coots unit, was finally called in by Aiteo to contain the leak occurring in a non-producing well located in Nembe, Southern Bayelsa State.
The Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Idris Musa, had said on a national television that it was discovered that Nigerian engineers could not stop the Nembe spillage, a situation he said, compelled government to contact international oil companies to come and help stop the flow.
He added that this caused some delay in addressing the situation, advising that going forward, Nigeria needed to develop local human capacity that could handle such disaster.
However, the upstream commission in response to the alleged lack of local oil spillage containment capacity, stated that the CNA coalition had developed much expertise over the years.
“There is adequate local capacity in oil spill containment. Clean Nigeria Associate (CNA) has enough capacity, and they are on site and have so far demonstrated that capacity.
“Why they are still there on site is because the oil keeps flowing out from the reservoir and they keep recovering it as it is coming out. The capacity that we do not have locally is not in oil spill containment. It is the capacity to kill wells. This is a highly specialised service whose need rarely arises, maybe once in seven years in a given country.
“So those with the technology in the United States have not seen the economic sense in setting up their base in Nigeria since they know they may never be needed for the next 10 years. Most countries call them in only when required, and that’s what Nigeria also is doing,” the NUPRC stated.