On Monday, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) raised an alarm over an underwater gas leak from an oil field being operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Kalaba, Bayelsa State.
Morris Alagoa, the Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, raised the alarm in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa. Mr. Alagoa explained that the gas leakage was coming from an underwater gas pipeline beneath Taylor Creek at Kalaba community, Okordia Clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area (LGA).
ERA/FoEN said the Paramount Ruler of Kalaba Community also confirmed the incident, saying it was brought to their attention in the early hours of Saturday.
He pointed out that the gas was leaking at a high pressure, causing giant bubbles in Taylor Creek which serves as the sole source of water to the communities.
“I first learned about it when some children were shouting that oil was bubbling and that there was a leakage.
“As a trained field monitor I also came around to see what was happening in the environment; whether what I heard was true.
“When I pulled down here by canoe, I discovered that it was true, gas was actually bubbling,” the Paramount Ruler said.
Expressing concern about the pollution of the water, which in addition to drinking purposes is also the only source for domestic activities, he said that he promptly informed ERA. He did so because the ERA is the organization that assists the community in reaching out to Agip during such incidents.
ERA/FoEN advised Agip to go to the site immediately in order to shutdown the source of the gas leak. This action would forestall further pollution of the environment and exposure of residents to associated toxic gas.
They also urged the management of Agip to convene a Joint Investigation Visit to unravel the cause of the leak.
Efforts to get a reaction from NAOC officials were unsuccessful. Requests for comment sent to the oil firm’s Media Relations Manager, Mr. Cotalini Fillipo, had yet to be answered at the time of this report.