Communities surrounding the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 at Akaso, Degema Local Government Area, Rivers State operated by Eroton Exploration and Exploration Company have heaved a sigh as the raging fire has finally been put out.
It was learnt that the fire incident suspected to be caused by activities of suspected oil thieves engulfed the Akaso 15 wellhead at Degema Local Government Area in Rivers on January 20 and has been burning and discharging oil and gas into the ecosystem.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Idris Musa, Director-General, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) said that the fire was put out on the 1st of February.
He explained that the oil wellhead has been secured by an indigenous well control firm, Kenyon International West Africa Ltd.
It was the same Kenyon International that was deployed to halt a well leak that lingered for over one month at the OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration in 2021 when expatriates from Haliburton failed to deploy to the site due to COVID-19 lockdown.
The NOSDRA DG said that the spills management agency was engaging the operator of OML 18 for a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) to the fire incident site which has been discharging oil and gas, polluting the area.
Eroton had confirmed the well-head fire incident at its Akaso field of the Cawthrone Channel operational area within OML 18 on January 20, 2023.
Spokesperson of the indigenous oil firm, Mercy Ebibai, had in a statement, explained that the well was reported to be releasing hydrocarbon to the environment with wildfire due to suspected activities of vandals and oil thieves at the oil wellhead.
Our correspondent gathered that Eroton had in 2015 acquired a 45 percent interest in OML 18 for $737 million following the divestment by the erstwhile operator, Shell.
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