By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), Operator of the NNPC /Aiteo Joint Venture of Oil Mining Lease (OML) has donated relief materials to communities in Bayelsa state.

The communities were affected by a hydrocarbon well head leak in its Santa Barbara, Southwest field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

In a statement by Aiteo’s media contact, Ndiana Matthew, yesterday said, Aiteo senior personnel have visited the affected communities and donated relief materials aimed at ameliorating the direct consequences of the incident.

The communities visited include Opu-Nembe Kingdom, where the Aiteo delegation was received by the King His Royal Majesty, Dr. Biobelemoye Josiah Ogbodo VIII, his council of chiefs and all sections of the society.

He noted in his remarks that “…we are happy that Aiteo has initiated this visit to support the community at this time and urge them to continue to work with us as partners in progress on its corporate goals in the community.”

The Aiteo Group CEO Mr. Benedict Peters has extended his assurances to the affected communities and, in his words, confirmed that “…we are doing everything in our power to contain this spill and ameliorate the situation as rapidly, safely and responsibly as possible.

“We have mobilized best-in-class resources and expertise to put this mishap behind us. Be rest assured of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the ecosystem from its effects.”

“Aiteo remains committed to ascertaining, immediately the well head is secure, the immediate and remote causes of the leak which will be driven by a JIV that will follow. Nevertheless, it is important that we affirm our preliminary view, based on our assessment of the proximate circumstances, that it will be difficult to exclude deliberate tampering of the well by oil thieves attempting to siphon crude directly from the well head. In our view, sabotage remains the most imminent cause of this incident.

“Oil theft and asset vandalism continues to present the biggest challenge we face in the operations of oil and gas production in the Niger Delta area.

“It has continued to damage the production profile of oil producers in so many ways. As we commend the relevant security agencies with whom we interface to combat this menace, we believe the need and capacity to provide significantly more remain overwhelmingly critical especially because there is so much more to be done to realign the architecture of the delivery infrastructure of oil and gas production in Nigeria in line with the current industry structure of multiple producers operating assets that were previously built and managed by one producer.”

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