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Senate tackles AITEO, urges FG to revoke operating license over 2 million daily barrels of crude oil spill in Niger Delta

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Nigeria Senate on Tuesday blasts AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited, operators of Santa Barbara Well 1, OML 29 for continuous crude oil and gas blow out spill.

The upper Chamber has among other resolutions, adopted revocation of operational licence of the oil company for incompetence and lack of capacity to curtail the daily gushing and spewing of oil and gas into the Waterways and mangrove of Nembe area of Bayelsa State.

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District in his lead debate averred that records have shown that AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited lacked technical competence to handle crude oil leakages, even as the oil well which the company operates, spilled in the past and nothing was done untill there was a long period of accumulated oil that is currently spilling and causing environmental catastrophy.

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The lawmaker lamented that the entire mangrove forests and aquatic life have been badly affected by the methane gas, as rainbow-like sheens are seen on the water body around the point of incident down to the shoreline.

The situation, the lawmaker, maintained has affected residents of the Nembe and the adjoining communities who are predominantly farmers and fishermen even as the dead fishes could be seen floating within the impacted area and fishing activities totally crippled.

Senator Degi-Eremienyo draw the attention of the upper Chambers to the just concluded Global Climate Conference (CoP 26), which held in Glasgow, Scotland, stressing that world leaders encourages nations to strictly implement best practices in cutting off emissions in the entire ecosystem.

He noted that policy on divestments by IOCs in exploration and production of oil was a welcome development that creates space for indigenous companies to invest and grow in the oil and gas industry.

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He called on the Federal government of Nigeria to allocate such opportunities to indigenous companies with proven requisite technical and financial competence.

Insisting that AITEO should be sanctioned and operating license be withdrawn, he added, “that attempts to stop the continuous oil and gas spill by the operators had failed for over one month running.”

The spill he noted, was wasting an estimated over 2 million barrels of hydrocarbon and gas, thereby showing, “a disappointing appearance of technical incompetence handling on part of AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited.”

Part of the motion further notes: “That such degree of incompetence is sufficient to attract sanctions such as revocation of their operational license by the regulatory authorities to instil sanity in the oil and gas sector.

“Notes with deep concern the threat that this incident poses to the health of the people of the host communities as the air and water have been contaminated, and also the possibility of a fire outbreak from the oil well if these wanton release of oil and methane gas continues to unstopped.”

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Meanwhile, Senators who spoke on the motion expressed discontent on how Nigeria government has been taken for granted in not observing laws governing operations of oil companies.

They vowed to push revocation of operational license of AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited to conclusion.

The Senate in an adopted resolution urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to revoke the operational license of AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited if the continuous leaks cannot be stopped.

Senate President Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan also sustained prayers that the environmental assessment be conducted by the relevant agency to ascertain the extent of damage and ensure internationally acceptable standard of remediation of the environment.

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