The Association of Journalists for Justice publicizes the complete file of this event, the reasons and the interrogation for the blast of the oil wells in Patos-Marinze. The Prosecutor’s Office had started the investigation since 2012 towards “Bankers Petroleum”, whereas AKBN puts the blame to the Canadian company as the later had dug without a study and without taking into consideration the amount of gas. Geologists: the state had a study not from the professionals of this field.
By Endrit Habilaj
After more than three months from the blast of the gas wells in Patos-Marinzë, where the oil extraction company “Bankers Petroleum” results to be responsible, the Association of Journalists for Justice publicized the whole investigation file, the state reports and the warning to not act any more in that area. The first doubts for illegal underground works started in June 2012, time when the Fier Prosecution’s Office was investigating during that time for “property destruction and intentional arson” towards the Canadian company “Bankers Petroleum”. For this occurrence during that time were arrested two people. But during the investigations for this case, the Fier Prosecution’s Office analyses some complaints of the inhabitants of that area for the underground blasts which had destroyed their dwellings and which according to the citizens were caused from the actions of the “Bankers” company in the underground of this area.
The Prosecutor’s Office asked information to the Institute of the Geosciences and Energy, Water and Environment (IGJEUM) Tirana for the blasts happened on 16 and 17 June 2012 in the area of Zharrëzës and Patos-Marinzës in Fier. But this Institute, the only one specialized in Albania for this kind of expertise, “disoriented” the Fier Prosecutor’s Office by sending two contradictable reports for the shaking of the land in that area. Initially, in the first report, the Institute responds back by informing the Fier Prosecution’s Office that the shakings on 16 and 17 June have a tectonic origin as they have happened in the depth of 28 and 36 km underground, hence it was not proven scientifically that the shakings of the land have been tectonic shakings (earthquakes). After nine months, the Fier Prosecution’s Office addressed again for information the IGJEUM for the blasts that had taken place on 16-17 June 2012, where they asked specifically even the depth of the shaking and the reason. In the official letter dated 12.03.2013, the Institute sent back the answer that on 16 and 17 June 2012, the shakings have happened in depths, and respectively on 16.06.2012 at the depth of eleven kilometers and on 17.06.2012 two shakings at the depth of one and five kilometers, at a time that there is not defined their reason.
In the two letters of the Institute of Geosciences related to the blasts in the petroleum area it is easily depicted a big difference between the depths of the soil movement. Hence, in the first letter it is mentioned that the movements have happened at the depth of 28 and 35 kilometers; whereas in the second letter, the movements of the same date have happened in the depth of 11 and 1-1.5 kilometers. Related to the reason of these movements, the Institute gives this answer: “It is difficult for the Institute to make the complete monitoring in different areas of the country as it does not have the equipment to make a thorough local monitoring”. This statement opposes the first report where the Institute of Geosciences did not hesitate to give any conclusion. Due to this institutional standstill, the Fier Prosecutors’ Office could not finish the investigation.
Approximately two years later after the blast of the oil and gas wells in the area of Zharrëz in Fier, in September 2014, the Ministry of Environment after the inspection carried out fined the “Bankers Petroleum” company with 100 million old leke, a fine this that was not taken into consideration from the company. Some years later, on 27 February 2015, the Ministry of Environment blocked the activity of the Canadian company “Bankers”. But again, the “Bankers” company continued its activity by openly challenging the state and risking the lives of hundreds of people living in that area. It did not take long and on 1 April this year in the oil area of Marinze village in Fier, there happened a powerful blast of the oil wells, which was stated as being accidental either by the leaders of “Bankers” company or the representatives of the state.
To the geologic experts the blast of the oil wells that brought a series of health and economic problems to the inhabitants of this area could be prevented if there had been taken the necessary measures. “Of course, the uncontrolled blast could be prevented if the designer of the well that was dug, had studied in details all the historical data of the wells that were dug before, which were at their disposal. After the default, in the biography of the wells resulted that in one of the wells was injected about 2.5 million cubic meters carbonic gas (CO2), a well known and very effective technology in the processing of the heavy gas, of course even with the many technical problems of the columns and wells already dug before. Briefly, if the history of the already dug well was studied carefully, everything could have been prevented as the project of the well would have foreseen the suitable technical measures to overpass that situation”, says the professor of the Geology and Mines Faculty, Gjergji Foto.
AKBN in its post-blast report declared that the “Bankers” company that carries out the digging operations has been unprepared not only on the technical aspects but also on the administrative ones to overcome such situation by putting to it the responsibility as a direct operator in the hydro- carbonate operation carried out in the well. “During the lifting of the digging instrument towards the depth of 1257 meters, but also a little bit higher, there has been lack of attention in the inspection of the clay solution that has been accompanied with slights manifestation and signs of the chain bubbling that happen before the glamorous gasification”, was written in the AKBN’s report. Meantime, from the side of the Albanian Geologic Service has been concluded that the reason for the phenomenon that happened is the exploiting activity for the oil from the company.
But what happened on 1 April in Marinze? The professor of the Geology and Mines Faculty, Gjergji Foto, explains technically why and how happened the gas blast: “In Marinze, in the well No. 57-61 in pad -29, where was dug the ninth trunk out of eleven wells planned, there exploded from the mouth of the well the clay material, gasified in the shape of a fountain. The digging team on duty closed the exit points of the well from where the gasified material was coming out. When the pressure allowed at the exit points had to be 10 atmospheres, in fact it reached to 35 atmospheres. After that, there exploded gassed clay (with carbonic gas) in the shape of a fountain even within the inhabited area”. According to the professor Foto, for this tragedy caused to the nature the responsibility remains to the “Bankers Petroleum” company and to the Albanian state as well.
The geologist Foto further explains that the study done by the state in 2005 has been prepared by amateurs and not from professionals of the field. “The Bankers” company had to carry out continuous checks of the works on the designing of the wells and it had to be this company that had to give the permission to the digging subcontractor for as long as it is the only signer of the contract. Meantime, a study consisting of 461 pages on the influence in the environment for the working territory of the “Bankers Petroleum “ company has been formulated eight years after the beginning of the works of the company i.e. in 2013. But this study had been scientifically led by a Director of the Hydro-carbonate Directorate but being totally out of the specialty with 13 coauthors, out of whom only one is a geologist engineer and 12 others belong to unknown fields of study. The state does not have any scientific institution to council, supervise and recommend. So, the responsibility is completely dual. The state owner has behaved as the worker of the company”, expresses Prof. Doc. Gjergji Foto.
For this serious happening, the Fier Prosecution Office has identified seven people, administrative and technical directors of the “Bankers” and subcontractors of the company as being responsible for the natural gas blast in the Marinzë area. Up to this phase of the investigation, the prosecution has raised doubts and is carrying out investigation for the citizens: Leonidha Çobo, general director of “Bankers Petroleum”; Lane Gardipee, drilling supervisor at “Bankers” for the daily operations of the drill 504; Wayne Gaunt, manager at “Bankers” for the drilling operations; Steve Hrushka, manager of the drill at the “Simmons” association at the drill 5761; Mike Davy, chief supervisor for the operations of the drilling team; Frenc Lazlo, supervisor of the cementation operations at “Rotary” association; Tibor Vargon, engineer of the cementation operation of the “Rotary” association. The Association of Journalists for Justice contacted the general director of “Bankers Petroleum”, Leonidha Çobo to get his opinion on the issue. But even though Çobo accepted initially to be part of the interview, later he refused to answer.
Two months after the explosion, the living in the area affected by the gas blast has not turned back in the former condition. The uncontrolled blast of the oil has left behind a series of aftermaths in the environment around it and it will take time to be overcome. In the streets of the village have been created deep holes filled with polluted water and mud being mixed with oil remnants etc. at a time that vast lands have turned into muddy puddles and wells of some meters deep are filled with water and mud. After the blast, the water in the wells and taps of the Marinzë village has become unusable. Investigim.al has in its disposal even the report of the Albanian Geologic Service, where it is cited that there are 110 buildings damaged by the blasts.
Even the air pollution in Marinzë is in high levels, whereas the water must not be used either to drink or to cook. Related to the level of pollution, the National Environmental Agency informs that the level of dioxide of sulfur and azotes in the air are out of the allowable levels. “The measured level of SO2, compared with the normative of WHO surpasses at the amount of 56.1%; the measured amount of NO2, compared with the normative of WHO surpasses at the amount of 49%, has announced the Environment Agency. Another problem remains the supply with drinkable water of the area. According to the Ministry of Health, the water in the family wells is out of the standard and it is recommended to not be used. “The water of the Marinze village Water Supply cannot be used for public use (to drink, cook dishes, personal hygiene), but only for communal usage until it will comply with the requests of the water quality, according to the Albanian standard into power and the directives of the EU”, has declared the Ministry after the blast of the oil wells.
At the end, Prof. Doc. Gjergji Foto addresses 6 main points towards “Bankers Petroleum” and the Albanian state in order such phenomenon to not be repeated again in the future. Firstly, the government must formulate for the subcontractor that design or issue special rules that prevent such events. Secondly, according to the geologist, the government must exercise continuous controls on the drilling projects and supervise and monitor their accurate implementation from the subcontracted company. The third point that Foto suggests is the cooperation of the “Bankers” company with the Albanian state to ensure the gradual move of the inhabitants of the area. Furthermore, according to the geologist, the company must keep under full control the exploitation of the sources to prevent the catastrophes. Prof. Doc. Gjergji Foto says that the Albanian state must give away from the employment of the political affiliates in important positions and with high impact on the development of this wealth. At last, the geologist suggests the setting up of a special working hierarchy “Protection of the underground and environment” from the production units (Albpetrol) up to the Ministry. On this frame, there is needed the formulation of special regulations that give the possibility to keep under continuous control all the producing activity of the oil extraction companies.
Këto ditë, studjova raportin e Kontrollit të lartë të shtetit lidhur me veprimtarinë e Kompanisë “Albpetrol sh.a”, prej 30 faqesh. Me hollësi dhe argumenta të plota KLSH tregon veprimtarinë e asaj Kompanie gjatë periudhës nga Tetori 2013 dhe deri në fund të vitit 2014. Veprimtaria e kësaj kompanie si prodhuese, administruese dhe menaxhuese e vendburimeve të naftës që zotëron vetë por edhe për supervizimin dhe monitorimin e kontratave sipas Marrëveshjeve Hidrokarbure me kompanitë e huaja, është në nivele të turpshme, të pa përgjegjshme që fyejnë rëndë gjithë atë përvojë dhe kontribut, me sakrifica edhe ekstreme, të punëtorëve naftëtarë, specialistëve qytetarëve dhe fermerëve të zonave naftëgazmbajtëse. Atë naftë që për disa dhjetëra vite ne e kemi prodhuar, menaxhuar dhe ruajtur si “arin “, si pasuri për të gjithë popullin, sot po e shohim të shpërdorohet keqas nga njerëz të pa pêrgjegjshëm e të pa aftë, të shkojë në favor të disa individëve dhe të huajve. Shumë po vonohen reformat e premtuara që do t’i kthejnë atë pasuri vendit!
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