I present these excerpts from two articles about the burning of a Chevron drilling rig offshore Nigeria without comment.
“Crude oil” has reportedly washed ashore and been spotted around a partially submerged rig which suffered a gas explosion and continues to burn off Nigeria, a country official has claimed.
Some community leaders in the state of Bayelsa have complained of pollution reaching the coast following a blowout on the Chevron-chartered jack-up KS Endeavor early on Monday morning, Peter Idabor, director general of Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection & Response Agency (Nosdra) told Upstream.
“This is a very serious explosion. You have drilling fluids and oil seen around the rig itself.”
Idabor said his department has received complaints from government officials in some parts of Bayelsa state about pollution washing ashore.
“There are several communities already impacted,” he claimed. “The first one is Koloma towns 1 and 2, the second one is Fishtown and the third is Frupa.”
When it was put to him that the KS Endeavor was drilling a gas exploration well, Idabor replied: “Yes, it is, but maybe some oily substances are coming out. I think the fire is actually on the water too. That’s why I was saying there must be some oily substance. They are also talking about drilling fluids. But no volume estimates have been completed at this time.”
On Tuesday Chevron had said that “a small sheen [was] visible in close proximity to the well” with the sheen estimated at 13 barrels.
A local official also backtracked over claims last week that oil was visible at the drill site on the Funiwa field in Block 86 and some had reached shore, but also aired new claims of complaints from locals of toxic fumes from the blowout incident on 16 January.
“Contrary to some erroneous media reports, at this time there is no oil spilled as a result of this incident,” Chevron continued.
“We reiterate that this is a natural gas well. With the gas flow, fine silt and mud on the seabed floor is disturbed and rises to the surface. Discolouration of the water is visible near the well site.”
On Monday Idabor told Upstream: “The issue I told you about oil touching the coastline appears not to be true, because it was independently verified by [a Nosdra representative].
“Primarily it is not oil…I think [the main problem is] gas, the problem of gas affecting the atmosphere.
“People from the communities say that their problem is the gas – noxious gas – coming from the area. So I have got to link them with the director of petroleum resources to see what can be done.”