Bayelsa Says Disgusted by Shell’s Attitude Toward Oil Spills

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Bayelsa Government on Sunday expressed its dissatisfaction with the response of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to frequent oil spills in the state.

The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa, that several meetings between the state government and officials of the oil firm in the past had been “ fruitless.”

The commissioner also described as “ insensitive” the SPDC’s claim that the spill at Shell’s Seibou Oil Well at Ogboinbiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, had no adverse effect on the environment.
According to him, a Joint Investigation Report on the January 23 oil leak conducted by the regulators, SPDC, community and government representatives attributed the spill to equipment failure.

He said the equipment in question discharged some 550 barrels of crude into the river in the polluted area.

The spill had polluted Ogboinbiri River which serves as fresh water source to several settlements along the river bank in Southern Ijaw LGA in Bayelsa.

The commissioner said that the government would continue to that operators in the state adhered to existing regulations and international best practices.

“We made it clear from the outset that it cannot be business as usual, the Seibou oil-well leak is a test case and so far we are totally dissatisfied with SPDC’s posture.

“It goes to show the level of corporate impunity in the sector. I must say that we are not satisfied with Shell’s handling of spill incidents in our communities.

“We are extremely disappointed and it is a mark of insensitivity and it is regrettable and unacceptable for oil companies to operate without feeling the effect of their operation on the ecosystem and the larger environment”.

The commissioner said that the ministry had begun discussions with the affected communities with a view to seeking legal redress on the impact of the spill.

SPDC had confirmed that oil leak from its underwater line within its oil fields in Ogboinbiri was discharging not less than 550 barrels of crude into Ogboinbiri River.

According to a statement issued by the spokesman of the oil firm, Mr Joesph Obari, the leakage was reported on January 23 and it ,subsequently, shut the facility.

“A spill was detected from an underwater flow line riser at the Seibou 2 Wellhead in the night of January 23.

“The well was closed-in about fifteen hours later, once it was safe to do so and the impacted area boomed off to prevent further spread of the spill.

“A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) has been conducted, but it only determined that some 550 barrels of oil spilled and mapped the area of impact to the environment

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