Bayelsa Communities Will Suffer Damages Of Oil Spillage For Next 50 Years– Professor Steiner

Professor Richard Steiner, a marine biologist and the new Technical Adviser of the Ijaw Diaspora Council on Nembe Communities Oil Spill has said that the Nigerian Government is under-rating the damage of oil spillage in Nembe, Bayelsa State.

Steiner said the communities will suffer the effects of the spillage over the next fifty years.

The oil spillage at the OML 29 at Santa Barbara, Nembe Bayelsa State has been spilling for close to a month.

The spills has been estimated to be over 200,000 barrels, a claim the Federal Government has debunked.

Steiner said on Arise Tv that, “One thing is in common with all oil spills and that is the government and oil industry, the responsible party always understate the volume of outflow and the size of the spill.

“They always understate the impact of the spill and always over state their response and effectiveness and that is part of the DNA for government it is reputation issue. For the oil industry it’s a legal liability issue.

“It is major spill into a very productive mangrove ecosystem in the Niger Delta. Oil in tropical mangrove system has a way of entrenching in the mud of the system and causing deforestation of the mangrove and actually killing an extensive amount of the mangrove.

“Some of the damages will not be seen for many weeks or months to come. Some scientist have said that it might take fifty years for a mangrove system to fully recover from a large oil spill other scientist say a mangrove system will never fully recover.”

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo) is in charge of the well and the company has contracted Boots & Coots, a unit of Halliburton Company to help it control the spill in the abandoned well.

“The magnitude of this incident is of an extremely high order. Immediate efforts to control the leak were aborted due to the high pressure emanating from the well head,” Aiteo had said

The well is part of the assets that Aiteo purchased from Royal Dutch Shell in 2015.

Steiner said, “If you look at this blow up, the outflow rate is approximately at least a minimum of five gallons per second. That is 10,000 barrels of total discharge per day.

“Regardless, I think the total outflow is enormous. This is a very high pressure blowup and I think at a minimum, 100 barrels perhaps more like 200,000 barrels of total hydrocarbons that is the natural gas and crude oil have come out.”

He advised the FG to look at a global arbitrator settlement and compel the oil companies that have worked on the Niger Delta in the past ten years to provide just compensation for the past years of damages.

He added that they have to “provide the local communities a share of the revenues of oil and gas produced and transported from the region. That way they will be more engaged in the safe transport of oil. Secondly, cleanup and restore the entire Niger Delta, not just the programme in the Ogoni now which I understood is having hard time.”

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