Communities protest gas leakage, Total says situation is under control

Two oil producing communities in Rivers on Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government to save them from gas leakage from an oil platform in their area.
The Egita and Obite communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area told newsmen in Port Harcourt that massive gas leakage from the oil platform belonging to Total E and P has devastated their domains.
The management of Total E and P has however said that it was alerted about water and gas resurgence points in an area close to its Obiteon shore gas production facilities OML 58, on April 3.
The spokesman for the two communities, Joseph Obulor, said that the environment had been devastated while the source of drinking water was contaminated.
He claimed that old women and children in the communities have fallen sick after inhaling the gas.
Mr. Obulor said that the gas leakage has forced many families to relocate their homes.
The spokesman for the communities appealed to the Federal and State Governments to send relief materials to assist the affected people.
He alleged that no government agency or representative has visited the area to assess the situation.
The management of Total E and P said, in a statement e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the leak was caused by a technical incident during drilling operations on March 20.
“There have been no injuries. Production from the Obite gas plant has been stopped and wells shut down.
“Since the beginning, a special task force has been in place with the support of well-control experts in order to implement technical solutions to resolve the situation,’’ the statement said.
It stated that Total is working in collaboration with representatives of the communities who reside in the vicinity of the facilities and with the Nigerian authorities.
“All necessary means to ensure the protection of nearby communities and personnel and to limit the impact on the environment have been immediately mobilised.
“Strict monitoring of the environment is ongoing and a safety perimeter has been established.
“Domestic water analysis and air quality controls are being processed on a daily basis and have not revealed any presence of hydrocarbons or toxic elements,’’ the management said.

The management of Total E and P said that it had informed the Federal and Rivers State Governments about the incident.


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