Serious panic has taken over the Okpoama Kingdom of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
This is following a gas leakage from an oil well belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL.
The leakage, which occurred along the Bendick-Kiri axis of the Kingdom has been spewing oil and gas into the environment.
According to sources in the area, the oil well located in OML 66 and known in the records as “Kurogbagba 1”, has been leaking for the past five days, spreading oil and gas into the creeks.
A threatening hissing sound from the intense pressure forcing the oil and gas out of the wellhead could be heard from over a kilometre and has forced fishermen out of their settlements for fear of fire outbreak.
The head of the fishermen in Bendick Kiri, Monday Okon, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, confirmed that everybody has left because of the smell of the gas and oil and also for fear of fire outbreak.
“We are afraid the place may be up in flames because we are very close to the oil well. If we catch fish we can’t dry them. I am here because the community asked me to stay nearby and inform them when people come,” he said.
Okon said this was the third time the leakage has occurred, but it has not been this serious.
In May this year, the 53 years old abandoned oil well experienced leakage and was contained before it blew out again on the 20th of October, 2023.
Also speaking, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Tarinyo Akono, who visited the site on Monday 23rd October, 2023, described the well blow out as intense and extremely dangerous for the people and the environment.
“I was there in May this year when there was a blow out. I was there and now this sad occurrence. The livelihood of the people has been truncated. I have called on the NPDC to do something about these wells and they are over fifty of them,” he said.