By Amos Okioma
Residents of Koluama communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa have bemoaned the negative impact of a gas leak from an oilfield in the area. The people of Koluama reported an explosion from Agulo oilfield
operated by Conoil Producing in the area on February 4, 2018. James Epigo who resides in Koluama 1 community in a telephone chat with The AUTHORITY said the gaseous discharge from the oilfields forced residents to flee the area. “As at Monday, the whole community was deserted because the gas leak was choking people as it polluted the air; so we all left the community for our safety.” According to him, officials of the oil Company battled for more than a day between Sunday and Monday to stop the gas leak before the people returned to the community as the place is now calm. He said the incident caused a lot of inconveniences to the entire community while a few person could not still return to the community.
Following the report of the leak ,the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Central Zone, has threatened to disrupt operations at the oilfield over the company’s alleged failure to address the gas explosion at its Agulo oilfield, wells 4 and 5, in Koluama, Bayelsa.
The Chairman of IYC Central zone, Comrade Porri, said since the explosion occurred on Monday, nothing had been done to tackle the explosion which spills had spread to other communities near Koluama, Tamazo area of the state.
“Today, we are very pained and Ijaw youths, especially Koluama clan, have mobilised massively to invade the Conoil facilities in that domain.
“We are, therefore, using this forum to call on the authorities of the oil company that we are giving them within the next 24 hours to send their officials to address the issue that is currently going on at oilfield, well 4 and 5 gas explosion.
“If nothing was done within the ultimatum period, Ijaw youths will have no other choice but to vent their anger at the firm’s operational sites. ” He said However, a security consultant with Conoil Producing, Mr Bello Bina,
said that the incident was an operational procedure to ascertain the
viability of the gas reserves.
Bina, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, said that the smoke noticed from the oil well heads was routine testing and clearing of a gas well before resumption of normal gas operation. “What the company is doing is test running its gas wells and it is not a dangerous activity,” Bina said.