Lagos-based Aiteo Group has started well killing operations at the site of its disastrous Santa Barbara South-1 well in the Niger Delta that has been jetting up to 20,000 barrels per day of oil into the creeks of Bayelsa State, Nigeria for more than three weeks.

On 5 November, the high-pressure well is thought to have suffered a blow out – Aiteo has alleged sabotage - in Nembe Creek, an event that has proved to beyond the ability of local companies to contain.

As a result, Halliburton-owned Boots & Coots has been called in to kill the well, with other assistance also sought from overseas.

On 28 November, all activities in the vicinity of the blow-out site were temporarily suspended so the well-kill operation could begin, according to an operational update from the Nigeria's National Oil Spill Detection & Response Agency (Nosdra).

Thankless task: oil containment booms have been deployed to try to contain the huge volumes of oil being released from Aiteo's Santa Barbara South-1 well in the Niger Delta Photo: NOSDRA

The “movement of engine powered boats have been suspended” and “personnel not directly involved in the well killing are not allowed to access the well slot from this afternoon on,” Nosdra said in a post in its Facebook page.

On 11 November, the agency said it deployed booms and began crude oil recovery work.

Nosdra said the day after the spill a joint investigation was carried out by the agency and officials from the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Ministry of Environment and local communities.

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