Environmentalists and members of the communities had raised concerns over the discharge of toxic gases and high temperature.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, says ongoing ground level gas flares at Gbaran-Ubie project site near Opollo Epie in Bayelsa are within the industry’s tolerance limits.
This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the SPDC’s spokesman, Precious Okolobo, in Yenagoa.
The statement said that the company was testing the potential of five gas wells as the implementation of the Gbaran-Ubie project in Bayelsa progressed.
Environmentalists and members of the communities had raised concerns over the discharge of toxic gases and high temperature occasioned by the flares at the gas field.
The SPDC statement said that the exercise, which began two weeks ago, involved brief simulated production to determine the potential of the wells and flaring of released gas in isolated locations. It said that the project would eventually reduce routine gas flaring.
“On completion of the tests, the wells will be hooked up to the Gbaran-Ubie central processing facility which will process the gas for domestic and export markets. One of the recipients of the gas is the Bayelsa State gas turbine at Imiringi. In line with industry regulations, SPDC had secured permit from the Department of Petroleum Resources and engaged communities before commencing the well tests,” it said.
The statement further quoted Calistus Iwu, the Gbaran-Ubie Phase 2 project head, as saying that the testing of the gas wells was standard international practice. Mr. Iwu also said that the exercise would last for about four weeks.
“As we explained to the communities, the flares from the tests for each well typically last only a few days. The Gbaran-Ubie project has significantly helped to reduce operational flares in Gbaran, Kolo Creek, Etelebou and Zarama since it achieved first oil/gas in June 2010,” Mr. Iwu said.
He added that the project has continued to contribute to development in the communities by providing infrastructure and capacity building for youths.
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