Yenagoa - A leakage in a gas field operated by Chevron in the Atlantic Ocean off the Bayelsa coastline has led to the discharge of crude oil and gas into the environment, community sources.
The sources said that the incident occurred at Funiwa Deep 1A natural gas well location in the Funiwa field, operated by Chevron Nigeria Ltd.
Adeyinka Adewumi, the Head of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in Port Harcourt Zone, confirmed the development.
''Chevron reported a leak at their facility this morning which opened the investigations into the incident. By the time our officers deployed to the site come back, there will be more information,'' he said.
Adewumi said that NOSDRA had commenced an investigation into the incident in collaboration with Chevron and members of the host communities.
He explained that the agency was awaiting a joint investigation visit to the site of the incident with representatives of Bayelsa Ministry of Environment, Chevron, host communities and Department of Petroleum Resources.
However, residents of Koluama 1 and Koluama 2 communities in Bayelsa have expressed concern about the negative impact of the incident on marine life and fishing.
Larry Gabriel, a fisherman from Fishtown community in Brass Local Government Area, said the incident occurred five kilometres from the site of the January 2012 gas explosion site within Chevron’s field in the Atlantic.
Gabriel said that oil workers had been making fruitless efforts to seal the leak.
''Although we cannot say when exactly this thing started, we have noticed unusual movement of heavy equipment they are using to block the leakage but so far oil and gas are still being discharged into the environment,’’ he said.
An official of Chevron, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NAN that the oil firm would issue a statement on the incident soon.