The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), formerly Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has described the allegations indicting the commission of complacency in the Santa Barbara oil spill in Nembe, Bayelsa State, by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) as unfounded.
Saturday Sun had on Thursday reported an interview monitored on Arise Television where the DG of NOSDRA, Mr, Idris Musa, had indicted NUPRC for failing to nip the Nembe oil spill in the bud by failing to decommission some abandoned oil fields across the country, including the one involving Santa Barbara oil well head. For three weeks, The Santa Barbara oil spilling has continued unabated without the Operator, Aiteo being able to contain same But NUPRC, in statement made available to Daily Sun by its Head, Public Affairs, Mr. Paul Osu, enjoined the general Public to disregard the unfounded allegations against the commission in its entirety as NOSDRA does not have the technical and regulatory capacity to determine issues of well abandonment and decommissioning in the oil and gas industry. The commission further assured the public that every facility which includes wells that are adjudged as due for decommissioning are receiving appropriate regulatory attention .
The statement reads in part: “The NUPRC wishes to reiterate that in line with its regulatory mandate for Upstream Petroleum operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry the commission is statutorily responsible for technical and commercial regulation of the sector. This statutory regulatory mandate includes overseeing well engineering operations which goes beyond spill response which is the primary responsibility of NOSDRA,’’ the statement noted
NUPRC added that it has full jurisdiction over reservoir, well and facility engineering in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and therefore has adequate capacity to determine when an oil well is due for decommissioning or otherwise based on technical details available to the commission. The statement added that investigations to determine the cause(s) of the Santa Barbara oil spill is still ongoing while NUPRC has outlined strategic action plans to address the spill.
It reassured the public that NUPRC will continue to monitor the incident to enable it determine the cause of the spill while ensuring environmental remediation for the affected communities in line with global best practices.