Investigations into the cause of the Nov. 5 spill at Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 in Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa will resume on Wednesday.
Ikeazor, announced the development on Tuesday shortly after visiting the leak site at the oilfield operated by indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Exploration Company.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had on Nov 6 visited the leak site to ascertain the cause of the leak from a non-producing well but the pressure and intensity of the gas and crude leak hampered the process.
The Spills regulatory agency subsequently directed the operator of the oilfield to shut in the leak, but it persisted until Dec 8 when the leak was plugged.
Ikeazor, assured that the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) would be conducted in a transparent manner adding that the Federal Government ensured prompt response from day one of the incident.
JIV is a statutory probe that follows every reported leak incident by representatives of oil firm,impacted communities, regulators and State Ministry of Environment to ascertain the cause and estimated volume of spilled crude oil.
She noted that NOSDRA had been on the incident site to ensure that the oil leak was contained within the locality to avert further damage to the environment.
The Minister said that from her impressions after the visit that the response to the incident reduced the impact on the environment adding that the JIV report will determine the next course of action.
According to her, if the leak was traced to equipment failure, the victims would be compensated but if it is found to be caused by sabotage, there would be no compensation.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA who accompanied the minister alongside officials of Aiteo noted that the agency was doing its best to mitigate the resultant pollution.
He noted that the site had suffered several pollution incidents in the past and noted that the devastation observed was not only caused by the latest incident.
He attributed the calm nature of the Santa Barbra River as being responsible for the high recovery rate of spilled crude which was largely trapped by booms deployed to reduce spread of leaked crude.
Aiteo in 2015 acquired OML 29 following Shell’s divestment for about $2.4 billion.
The asset consists the 97km Nembe Creek Trunk Line which evacuates crude from onshore oil wells within the oil bloc and other operators to Bonny Export Terminal.