Nigerian wellhead has spilled 2 mln barrels of oil and gas, says senate


ABUJA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A wellhead leak in Nigeria's Bayelsa state has spewed two million barrels of oil and gas equivalent into the Delta creeks, the senate said on Tuesday.

Nigerian oil firm Aiteo Eastern E&P reported the "extremely high order" leak from the Santa Barbara wellhead that it jointly owns with state oil company NNPC in early November. Weeks later, the wellhead was still violently spewing oil and gas. read more

"Attempts to stop the continuous oil and gas spill by the operators had failed repeatedly for over one month running, wasting an estimated over 2 million barrels of hydrocarbon and gas," a senate resolution stated, adding it showed "a disappointing appearance of technical incompetence in handling the incident on the part of Aiteo."

An Aiteo spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The company said previously it had contracted Halliburton subsidiary Boots & Coots to stop the spill, while President Muhammadu Buhari last month pledged it would be speedily addressed. read more

The resolution, put forward by Bayelsa Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, expressed concern over the impact of the spill on the mangrove forests, aquatic life and air and water in the region.

Nigeria's Delta creeks and mangrove swamps are among the most polluted areas on earth after decades of oil and gas exploration.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said he was particularly disappointed an indigenous company was involved.

"I believe that this particular case should be made to be an example of what government and its agencies can do, not only to force the alleged culprit to remedy the environment but also to penalize the oil company for devastating the lives of the people of that area," Lawan said.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh Writing by Libby George Editing by Mark Potter

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