Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called for a joint investigative visit to unravel the cause of the fire incident which occurred on May 26 at Conoil oilfield in Bayelsa State.
The environmental rights group made the call in its field report on the fire incident signed by Alagoa Morris, its head of field operations in Bayelsa. The fire occured at Koluama, on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
No life was lost although the fire engulfed an oil rig owned by Depthwize Nigeria, a services firm working at the oil block operated by Conoil.
The 232 feet rig named Majestic has capacity for 120 men.
The incident occurred six years after a devastating gas explosion, which resulted in a huge destroyed the K.S Endeavour oil at an oilfield operated by Chevron in Koluama.
ERA/FoEN urged the oil firm, oil industry regulators, especially and Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment to ensure prompt visit to the Conoil Impacted site with representatives of Koluama community in line with operating guidelines.
It advised against delays as the impact of the incident could be washed off by tidal and ocean currents, and would adversely affect impact assessment of the incident. It recalled that a delayed joint investigative visit during the KS Endeavour gas explosion incident produced a disputable result, stressing that delay should not be the case of the Conoil fire.
“The regulators should make the JIV report public, as these frequent incidents need not be swept under the carpet. “Conoil should be investigated as to whether the company and those they hire are actually qualified and operating according to standards required in the industry,” it stated.
It would be recalled that the youths of Akassa in Santana area of Bayelsa had put out a fire which occurred on Conoil platform near Brass LGA on September 29, 2017.
Another gas leak also occurred at the oil firm’s field at Koluamai in February 2018.