Nov. 22, 2021
Contact: Professor Rick Steiner, International Oil Spill Advisor
Oasis Earth, Anchorage Alaska USA (www.oasis-earth.com)
Technical Advisor, Ijaw Diaspora Council
+1-907-360-4503 (available for Skype/Zoom/phone interviews)
Major Nembe Oil/Gas Blowout Needs Immediate Response from Nigerian Government and Oil Industry
As a scientist specializing in oil spill issues globally for several decades (including in the Niger Delta, see attached), I am deeply concerned about the Santa Barbara South field, OML 29 oil and gas well blowout at Nembe LGA, Bayelsa State, Niger Delta. After reviewing video of the outflow rate, the outflow is occurring under extremely high pressure. I estimate that the flow rate from the failed well is at least 10,000 barrels of toxic hydrocarbons (methane and crude oil) per day, and possibly twice that. Thus, after 15-20 days of continuous flow, the spill has already released a minimum of 150,000 barrels – 200,000 barrels of toxic hydrocarbons into the sensitive mangrove ecosystem in Nembe LGA, and possibly twice that much. Even by international standards, this constitutes a major hydrocarbon spill, and its impacts are likely to be serious, extensive and long lasting.
2. Aiteo/NNPC must immediately deploy sufficient oil spill containment and cleanup equipment and personnel to collect as much of the spilled hydrocarbon pollutant as possible, hiring local community members as possible. This is clearly a Tier III oil spill (the largest category), well beyond the capability of local cleanup assets such as Clean Nigeria Associates, and Aiteo/NNPC should contract Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) in Southampton UK to conduct a large-scale Tier III spill response.
3. Aiteo/NNPC must provide immediate, interim financing to the affected communities of at least $500,000 USD, to be used by the communities in their initial response to the spill. It should be made clear that this initial funding will in no way prejudice future community claims for compensation for the spill. This initial compensation will allow the community to purchase alternative food resources during the spill (as fish from the spill area are contaminated and must not be caught and consumed); purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); and conduct its overall response to this emergency.
4. Aiteo/NNPC, Bayelsa State, and the federal government must agree to support a technical advisor for the Ijaw communities to join the official Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
5. Aiteo/NNPC must immediately commission an independent, scientific environmental damage assessment by a credible, independent scientific institution.
6. Aiteo must preserve all evidence, including documents, video and photographs, and actual equipment (e.g. the failed Christmas Tree structure) that may be relevant to determining the cause of the wellhead failure and spill.
7. Aiteo must provide the community with all records pertaining to this well, including its design and installation date, any/all inspection and maintenance the company has performed on the well, any deficiencies the company has noted, all corrective/remedial actions the company has taken on the well, etc.
8. The Nigerian federal government should convene an independent inquiry as to the cause, response, and impact of this major oil spill.
March 10, 2016. Time to End “Blood Oil” Disaster in the Niger Delta.