Friday, September 30, 2022

Shell’s ‘operational mishap’ triggered Bayelsa oil spill: Report

A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the incident site on September 5 and 6 concluded that the spill was caused by equipment failure.

• September 14, 2022

The crude oil leak, which occurred at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) facilities at Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa, has been pinned on equipment failure.

A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the incident site on September 5 and 6 concluded that the spill was caused by equipment failure.

A field report of the JIV by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) indicated that the leak was due to an operational mishap which discharged crude oil within SPDC’s operational area with no impact on the third-party area.

JIV is a statutory step that follows every oil spill incident by representatives of oil firms, host community and regulators to ascertain the cause, volume and area impacted by the oil spill.

Return Koma, who represented the Peremabiri community in the JIV, revealed on Tuesday that SDPC officials and regulators were unanimous that the spill was due to equipment failure.

He noted that an operational mishap on August 24 at Diebu Creek Flow Station, operated by SPDC, discharged a yet-to-be ascertained volume of crude into the environment.

Mr Koma, the Community Development Committee (CDC) chairman of Peremabiri, noted that the JIV could not arrive at the quantity of spilled crude and so did not sign the JIV report.

“We have conducted the JIV. They accepted responsibility for the leak incident at the flow station and another one at nearby Well 6. Both were due to equipment failure,” Mr Koma stated. “We were unable to agree on the volume of spilled crude and so did not sign the report.”

The Peremabiri community had lamented the adverse impact of the spill and alleged insensitivity, neglect and delayed response by SPDC. They said the delayed response to the spill by SPDC had damaged the land and marine environment and impacted a wider area.

In a statement on September 5 by its spokesman, Mike Adande, SPDC said it was aware of the spill.

“We are working with regulators and local community to investigate the reported incident,” said Mr Adande. “The Diebu Creek stopped injection into the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) on February 25, owing to constant breaches of the TNP by crude oil thieves.“ 

According to residents, the discharge of large volumes of crude into the environment has polluted the Nun river, swamps and farmlands, causing hardships to the predominantly fishing and farming settlement. 


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