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Fear in Bayelsa community as crude oil mysteriously erupts from ground

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By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa

There was a mixed feeling of fear and excitement in a non-oil producing community, Otuabula 2, in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa state when crude oil was discovered to have spurted from the ground.

Whether the crude oil was forced out of the ground by human or natural causes is yet to be established but National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has visited the site and taken samples for testing, Orient Daily learnt.

However, an environmental scientist attached to the NOSDRA Reference Laboratory who also visited the site and pleaded not to be mentioned hinted that the crude oil was fresh, indicating that it may have erupted through a crack on the ground.

He explained that “when crude oil under the surface of the earth is overdue for exploration, it usually escaped from the ground through any crack that may have caused by vibration. It usually comes out in thick bitumen form, so there is nothing strange about this discovery because it happens from time to time.”

According to a chief of the community, Augustine Okpukpu-Isi, the crude oil was first discovered by a farmer somewhere in Iyapogo forest along the Ogbia Creek, who later alerted the leadership of the community.

Explaining further, Okpukpu-Isi said “many exploration companies have come to look for crude oil in our community without any luck. So, we were surprised when one of my brothers came to inform us that he saw crude oil bubbling out of the ground somewhere in our forest.

“At the beginning, it was bubbling out with force but now it has stopped. So, we have appealed to the government to come and take a look at it and find out if it can be drilled. In a case where it can be drilled for commercial purposes, please don’t bring a company that would come and divide us.”

Also speaking, the senior special assistant to the governor on oil and gas, Chief Timi Seimiebo, who led NOSDRA officials to the site assured that government would investigate the source of the crude oil and prevent it from polluting the environment.

He said “I am here with NOSDRA to take sample for testing, in order to get the signature of the crude. We are also trying to get the coordinate of the site to trace the OML the site falls under.

“However, our investigation revealed that there is no pipeline running through or bunkering activities taking place in and around the community. So, for now, we would have to wait for the results to be out before deciding our next line of action.”

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