Normal crude oil export operations were restored, March 7, on the 150,000 barrels per day Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) following the plugging of a leak which resulted in the shutdown of the facility on February 28.
A spokesperson for Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, the operator of the 97 kilometres crude oil pipeline, Masade Odianosen, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday the facility “is up and running’’.
The restoration of normal operations has allayed fears of a major disruption of oil exports on the pipeline, which evacuates crude oil daily to the Bonny Oil Export Terminal.
The Aiteo spokesperson said the NCTL was restarted while the joint investigation into the March 1 explosion from Oil Well No.7 within Nembe Creek oilfields was still in progress.
The NCTL, the official said, was not in operation when the explosion from an oil well within the OML 29 oil block occurred.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) said on Friday it had commenced investigations into the explosion located within OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration.
Reports said the blast ignited a fire which Aiteo officials said was put off on March 2, resulting in crude oil and gas already being discharged into the environment. No loss of lives was recorded.
The volume of crude oil and gas discharged into the surrounding environment arising from the explosion was yet to be ascertained.
The Director-General, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Peter Idabor, also confirmed Aiteo had commissioned a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV).
The D-G explained the JIV, a statutory probe of leak incidents in the oil and gas sector, would determine the cause of the explosion, the volume of oil leakage as well as assess damage to the environment.
He said a JIV report signed by representatives of the community, NOSDRA, Bayelsa State Government and the oil firm that participated in the investigation, was expected at the end of the probe.
The Aiteo official said the JIV team was yet to arrive at a conclusion on the cause of the blast.
“The JIV is still ongoing. It was not rounded up as we progressed with physical inspections without arriving at the probable cause from physical examinations.
“There appears to be the need for a more detailed and technical assessment to understand the primary cause of the incident prior to explosion that is more visible at moment on the riser.
“The investigation therefore requires further details and is still open,” Mr Odianosen said.
However, a statement from Odianosen on March 2, confirmed there was no human casualty.
Aiteo pledged to investigate the incident, which it said was of utmost priority.
It said the explosion did not affect the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), which was shut down on February 28 prior to the incident.
“The NCTL from our findings at the field is up and running as the incident did not in any way have links with the pipeline,” Aiteo spokesperson said.
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in 2015 divested its equity in OML 29 and transferred its interest in the oil block, including NCTL, for $1.7 billion to Aiteo. (NAN)
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