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‘Valves, control panels carted away’ — Eroton reports another well leak at OML 18

‘Valves, control panels carted away’ — Eroton reports another well leak at OML 18
July 12
07:02 2022

Eroton Exploration and Production Limited has reported another leak at oil mining lease (OML) 18, caused by “third-party interference”.

The company said the latest incident occurred at Cawthorne channel field, well head 047.

Mercy Max-Ebibai, head, external affairs and corporate communications, Eroton, confirmed the incident in a statement released on Monday. 

The development comes three weeks after the oil company confirmed an oil spill incident at Cawthorne channel wellhead 15, also caused by “third-party interference”. 


“As was the case with the earlier reported incident, this recent spill also occurred in the Cawthorne Channel field, wellhead 047 Long string (CAWC047L). The CAWC-047 wild oil spill was observed in the morning hours of Sunday, July 10, 2022,” the statement reads.

“CAWC047L/S is a dual string well, the Long String arm was shut-in in April 2020 due to flowline vandalisation and in July 2020, the Short String arm was also shut-in for the same reasons. A distant look at the well shows the absence of some wellhead valves on the body of the XMAS TREE.”

Max-Ebibai said the spill “was observed at about 07 45hrs coming from the wing valve arm of the CAWC047L, which appears to have been vandalised with the valves, control panels, bean-box, actuators all carted away”.


“The well was observed to be releasing the uncontrolled flow of hydrocarbon to the environment from the long string due to the confirmed compromised and vandalised XMAS Tree containment valves of the wellhead,” Max-Ebibai said.

Max-Ebibai added that despite the high-pressure emission of crude, the Eroton emergency response team has been “working around the clock” to abate the situation. 

“A quick intervention initiated to shut-in the well through the master valve was abortive because the master valve appeared to have been compromised in a stuck position. The control line of the emergency downhole safety valve was also reported to be compromised, consequently affecting the activation, and functioning of the emergency downhole safety system,” she said. 

“Efforts are in progress to rectify all the faulty valves on the Christmas tree which were found stuck in a closed position. A first response has also been activated for containment and recovery.”


She further added that due to the administrative challenges occasioned by the public holidays, statutory notification to regulators can only be accomplished by Wednesday. 

“An electronic incident notification has however been sent to the relevant regulators in the interim. Wild well control experts are expected to visit the site tomorrow to have an assessment of the current situation and design a solution to keep the well under control,” she added.

“Eroton who has just mobilised an oil spill control vendors to the previous oil spill site at CAWC15 joins a long list of operators complaining of the anti-economic activities and sabotage by vandals and oil thieves with recent reports from industry regulator NUPRC, confirming the activities of oil thieves in Q1 of the year 2022 alone amounting to $1 billion.”

Cawthorne Channel field is one of the production channels on OML 18 situated in eastern Niger Delta south of Port-Harcourt on behalf of the Eroton/NNPC joint venture.


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