Following a recent oil spill incident in Cawthorne Channel Well head 15 barely a month ago, indigenous Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited confirmed that a second wellhead in its Oil mining acreage has suffered another incident suspected to be third-party interference.
As was the case with the earlier reported incident, the recent spill also occurred in the Cawthorne Channel field, well head 047 Long string (CAWC047L). The CAWC-047 wild oil spill was observed in the early hours of July 10, 2022.
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 same reasons. A distant look at the well shows the absence of some wellhead valves on the body of the Xmas Tree.
Speaking on behalf of Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited, the Head of External Affairs and Corporate Communications, Mercy Max-Ebibai, confirmed the incident. She stated that the spill was observed at about 07 45hrs coming from the wing valve arm of the CAWC047L, which appears to have been vandalized with the valves, control panels, bean-box, actuators all carted away. The well was observed to be releasing uncontrolled flow of hydrocarbon to the environment from the long string due to the confirmed compromised and vandalized XMAS Tree containment valves of the wellhead.
She further confirmed 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. Efforts are in progress to rectify all the faulty valves on the Christmas tree which were found stuck in closed position. A first response has also been activated for containment and recovery. Due to the administrative challenges occasioned by the public holidays, statutory notification to regulators can only be accomplished by Wednesday July 13, 2022. An electronic incident notification has however been sent to the relevant regulators in the interim.