The Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has urged organizations and individuals, who engage services of water well drilling companies to seek professional geoscientists’ advice in protecting the surface environment before their exploratory activity.
The group said engaging them would go a long way in forestalling unprofessional drilling practices and accompanying adverse environmental impacts.
President of NAPE, Dr. James Edet, said this at a press briefing, following the gas fire outbreak at Caritas University, Amorji-Nike, Enugu State last week.
He said the varsity, which engaged the services of borehole drillers had struck a gas bed without noticing it, causing a major leakage of natural gas.
He explained that the incident happened in the course of drilling very deep to reach the aquifer.
“These are hazards. You have to use professionals to do sizes and make surveys before you go drilling in an environment in the sub-surface,” he said.
He advised the public to tread with caution as they visit the site to avoid burns and other hazards associated with the type of flare.
He explained that NAPE, through its experienced members, would require access to more data to be able to ascertain the source of the leak.
According to him, with the data, solutions can be proffered to prevent future occurrences.
While acknowledging the remediation so far deployed by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), among other government agencies, the group issued some safety alerts for the public to avert further crisis.
Among the safety alerts, Edet said since the source of the leak was yet to be established, the potential of the fire getting bigger remained a possibility.
“Sub-surface gas leakages require specialised remediation methods, which are not the routine fire fighting methods. Further drilling of any type within the locality should cease until the incidence is abated and source identified,” he said.
While trying to gather data, he added that NAPE was on standby to give professional support and advice to relevant agencies for thorough remediation efforts.
Co-ordinator, Awka-Owerri Chapter, Dr. Princeton Dim, among other members, who visited the site, said the association was on standby to provide their technical and professional support to the relevant agencies to abate the continuous spilling out of gas and water, which invariably poses a serious environmental concern to lives and properties of the community.