The environment is our responsibility to protect and clean for future generations, starting with our oceans. Oil and gas spills and leaks threaten this responsibility and test our resilience.
The Aiteo Group has taken a leading role in ocean health, prioritizing early detection and awareness about oil-related incidence from tankers and offshore platforms in real-time.
The most recent oil and gas leak from a Santa Barbara wellhead in Nembe, Bayelsa state and the speed by it was contained is a testament to our innovative passion for low environmental impact mining. We have skimmers, booms, oil absorbent pads, water cannons, drones, and manpower which are always fully utilized at speed.
The first thing to know about oil pollution is when a spill occurs, it can kill marine life and damage the ecosystem. It contaminates seafood, harming people's health if they consume the contaminated seafood.
Oil spills occur when a tanker carrying crude oil or other petroleum products breaks open. The oil then spreads through the water, coating everything in its path.
Just like oil and gas spillage, sewage, trash, and chemical pollutants also pose a serious threat to ocean ecosystems. These contaminants can accumulate in the food chain, poisoning fish and other animals.
Nigeria has been especially vulnerable to the environmental effects of the oil industry, as the largest exporter of oil in Africa since 2006. The country exported about $77 billion worth of crude oil from January to November 2016. Now, fast-forward to today, and between April and June 2021, Nigeria exported over $100 billion in crude oil.
The global demand for oil exported from Nigeria is up along with the number of West African's who rely on clean ocean resources. This necessary balance is the catalyst to ensuring transparency, early detection, infrastructure, and security are a priority.
Serge Riazanoff co-authored a study that analyzed 4,000 images of the West African coast looking for oil spills up until 2012. The most striking find was the number of small spills that went unreported, and for us that’s unacceptable. It’s why we have a zero tolerance policy for spill detection, deployment, recovery, and cleanup.
Detection requires better communication and resources. “The reality is [the Nigerian government] doesn't have the capacity to ascertain when there has been an oil spill,” said Ife Okafor-Yarwood, a lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and an expert on the impact of oil pollution. “[The Nigerian government] rely on the oil company that has access to a helicopter. The human capacity is there, but they don’t have the assets.”
Monitoring requires accessibility and security. Idris Musa, director of Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) told Mongabay, this month, that "You cannot just go to any platform independently. We are in a place where we have a lot of illegal activities, nothing close to where we can go to any company’s platform to investigate [a spill] so we don’t have mistaken identity.”
The latest incident reinforces the need for oil companies to maintain robust and modern response systems. It’s not just about covering assets and answering to stakeholders, but also about being good stewards and investing in the health of the sector as a whole.
In 2018 alone, there were thirty-five spills recorded off the coast of Nigeria. We know this type of incident will happen based on unforeseen consequences of things like weather and human error, so we stay vigilant.
There are first, second, and third-order effects to neglecting the protection of good stewardship for our environment and it's all of our responsibility to care for the resources that care for our populations from the lowest point in the value chain to the top.