Source of Akwa Ibom oil spill unknown, says Mobil

FILE PHOTO: Ogoni environment has been terribly polluted by oil exploration activities

Mobil cannot explain the source of the oil spill in Akwa Ibom that occurred in an area it operates

Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) says the source of the oil spill noticed on the Atlantic coastline in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom, is unknown.

Deposits, suspected to be crude oil, were reported on Monday by residents of Atia community in Ibeno within the Qua Iboe oil field, operated by MPN.

Mobil Producing, an affiliate of US energy firm ExxonMobil, operates two offshore oil blocks, and a 960, 000 barrels per day crude export terminal, off the Akwa Ibom coastline.

A statement by Mobil in Eket on Tuesday, said that a response team has been deployed to the spill site and samples taken to ascertain its source

“Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that oiling from an unknown source had been sighted on the shoreline, near Ibeno, Akwa Ibom.

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“An emergency response team was immediately dispatched to the shoreline and samples of the substance collected for fingerprinting to determine its source, which remains unknown,” it stated.

The statement, signed by Paul Arinze, the General Manager, Public and Government Affairs, added that relevant government and regulatory agencies have been duly notified.

Mobil restated its commitment to high safety, health and environmental standards in its operations and well-being of its host communities.

Irvin Obot, the Zonal Director of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), confirmed the spill saying his agency had commenced investigations.

“Both the community and Mobil reported that there was an oil spill. Mobil said it was a ‘mystery’ spill and we have since dispatched our staff to the site.

“Investigations are already underway to determine the source and cause of the spill and a fingerprint analysis would trace the source of the oil leakage,” Mr. Obot said.

On the volume of the spill, Mr. Obot said the probe of the cause and source of the oil would determine the amount of oil discharged into the marine environment.

Reacting to the development, Obong Esenem, the Village Head of Atia community in Ibeno council area of the state, said that the spill was noticed by fishermen from the community.

 “Our community has witnessed another oil spill which has taken its negative toll on the environment. We, as a community, are in a meeting with the oil firm on the development,” he said.

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