Yenagoa - The Joint Task Force in Niger Delta has tightened security around the Agip Oil’s Well 9 facility in Ogbuinbiri community, Southern Ijaw local government in Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that a gas explosion from the facility had forced residents of the community to flee the area while the oil firm reportedly evacuated its workforce to a safe location.
A NAN correspondent who visited the community on Wednesday reports that an additional detachment of armed security men were deployed to the area shortly after the leakage was blocked.
Meanwhile, the patrol of the Amasoma-Lobia waterway has been intensified with several gunboats seen on the water channel leading to the oil facility.
Several marine checkpoints were also established with military tug boats and vessels being used for the 'Stop and Search' operations in the waterways near the oil rig.
Julius Christopher, a youth leader in Ogboinbiri told NAN on Wednesday that more soldiers were drafted to guard the oil installation after the gas leak.
"The soldiers here have increased the number of check points from one to three and they have blocked access to that canal that leads to another neighbourhood within our community.
"We were told by officials of the company that the decision was for safety reasons since they are still working to rectify the problem that caused the leakage of gas,” Christopher said.
It will be recalled that Agip had suspended oil export from most of its oil fields in Bayelsa due to unsustainable levels of oil theft in the state.
The oil firm said it authorised the suspension of operations in Bayelsa on March 22.
The company also declared ‘Force Majeure’ on its 40 000 barrels per day oil output from production facilities in the state on March 23, due to the unsustainable levels of oil theft.
`Force Majeure' is a legal notice that absolves an oil firm of liabilities for failure to meet supply obligations to crude buyers due to circumstances beyond the firm’s control.