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 Explosion hits Bayelsa fishing settlements

Explosion hits Bayelsa fishing settlements

An explosion has been reported at an abandoned oil well around the Bendick-Kiri in Okpoama Kingdom in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

PUNCH Metro gathered on Wednesday that the leak occurred on October 20, 2023 and had been discharging volumes of oil and gas substances from the oil well’s Christmas tree into the environment of the creek fishing settlements.

Community sources claimed that the oil well is located in OML 66 known in the records as “Kurogbagba 1”, and belonged to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company.

Fishermen have since fled the impacted area even as the oil well was said to have leaked in May this year.

A 14-second video of the spillage shows a hissing sound as a result of intense pressure forcing the oil and gas out of the wellhead.

There is fear that the incident, which had lasted about six days, could spread oil and gas substances wide into the marine environment and also result in fire incident if the leaking point is not clamped.

The head of the fishermen in Bendick-Kiri, Monday Okon, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, was quoted as having stated that everybody had evacuated because of the smell of the gas and oil, and for fear of fire incident.

“We are afraid the place will be in flames because we are very close to the oil well.  If we catch fish, we can’t dry them. I am here because the community asked me to stay nearby and inform them when people come”, he said.

Okon claimed that this was the third time a blowout would happen, though the previous occurrences were not as serious as the present incident.

Also speaking, a former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, Tarinyo Akono, who visited the site on Monday, described the wellhead blowout as “intense and extremely dangerous” for the people and the environment.

He said, “I was there in May this year when there was a blowout and now this sad occurrence. The livelihood of the people has been truncated. I have called on the NPDC to do something about these wells and they are over 50 of them.” (Punch)

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