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Nembe Community Urges FG To Call Aiteo To Order To Avoid Issues

Nembe Community in Bayelsa State on Monday stated that history may repeat itself soon if the Federal Government fails to intervene in the Cold War between Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd and its host community, Nembe Kingdom on OML 29.

In a statement issued by St. George Kumo, Chairman, Oil and Gas Committee, Nembe Kingdom, the community warned that Nigeria’s daily crude oil production of 1.9 million barrels per day may dip over growing tension between the Nembe Creek Trunkline which contributes 150,000 barrels per day of higher grade crude to the daily oil production figures:

The crude was formally launched in November last year as Nembe Crude Oil Grade distinguishing it from the Bonny Light Crude Oil Grade.

It was gathered that the growing faceoff is despite the recent inauguration of Host Community Development Trusts for communities in the Nembe oilfields by Aiteo and the engagement of community-nominated diesel contractors.

Kumo stated that Aiteo has among other things left a very bitter pill hanging in the throat of the Nembe people due to the neglect and abandonment of the Nembe Independent Power Project.

He alleged that the company has zero tolerance for the Local Content Act as even catering services are handled by Aiteo management staff and the firm customarily promotes irrational behaviour in the community before haphazardly responding to violated signed agreements.

Kumo further alleged that the firm, known for high-level environmental abuse without cleanup, compensation and remediation for over three years, is encouraging bunkering activities in the area by paying N800 for a litre of diesel.

According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company has failed to respond to previous petitions by the Nembe people about the attitude of Aiteo to the host community.

He said gas is still being flared just as the creeks “are now occupied by ocean liner vessels depriving the locals of their fishing rights without Environmental Impact Assessment” stressing Aiteo should not push the Nembe man into irrational acts.

He called on environmental rights groups such as Green Peace, Friends of the Earth and others to come to the aid of the community.

The statement read, ” Nothing has been done concerning a power project which was started by SPDC which was at 82% completion when Aiteo inherited the assets of OML 29 in 2015.

“Aiteo Eastern E&P Co Ltd, the operator of the OML 29 field in Nembe, Bayelsa State, inherited the project from Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd in 2015 at 82% completion stage. Most unfortunately, the project has since been abandoned and forgotten by Aiteo management”.

“The Nembe area suffered a devastating blowout made up of 80% gas and 20% crude oil at the Santa Barbara South Well 01 on November 1, 2021, which took several weeks to be contained.

“It was estimated that the blowout spilled about two million barrels of crude into the creeks and in spite of the scale of devastation, it took several months before any relief came to the communities.

When contacted on the development, Aiteo spokesperson, Ndiana-Abasi Matthew referred this reporter to another official, Chioma Aleru in Port Harcourt, who described the allegations as lies.

Aleru said “Aiteo is already handling the power situation by providing big and small diesel generators to the communities as the company did not want a situation where only a few communities would enjoy power supply.

She said the company was providing about 7,500 megawatts of electricity to the host communities and that diesel was supplied by contractors who were nominated quarterly by the communities.

On the issue of not cleaning up oil spills for over three years, she said regulatory agencies like the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission do work with the firm and communities.

According to her, part of the company’s challenge was the inability to produce oil for a period of 15 months due to disruptions on the 95-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline.

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