Shell, host community disagree on fresh spill

23 August 2011, Sweetcrude, Lagos- Shell Petroleum Development Company and its host communities in Bayelsa State have disagreed over the report of new oil spill near the company’s Okordia Rumuekepe trunkline in Bayelsa State.

The Associated Press reported that community leaders in the area claimed they saw a new oil spill near the same pipeline where a fire broke out last week.

Shell had in a statement explained that it tried to put out the fire on Friday, but that the fire fighters were blocked by “a community women blockade.” The SPDC, according to the report said it had no information about the Sunday’s spill.

The United Nations in a recent report said the oil giant contributed to 50 years of pollution in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The UN said the pollution could need the world’s largest ever oil cleanup that would take up to 30 years and require an initial tab estimated at $1 billion.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) analysed the damage oil pollution had done in Ogoniland, a region in the oil-rich creeks, swamps and waterways of the Niger Delta.

Shell and the Nigerian state-run Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) own most of the oil infrastructure in Ogoniland.

Shell stopped pumping oil from Ogoniland after a campaign, led by writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was later hanged by the Nigerian military government, provoking international outrage.

“The environmental restoration of Ogoniland could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long term oil cleanup exercise ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves are to be brought back to full, productive health,” the UNEP report stated.
“Oil spills in the Niger Delta are a tragedy, and SPDC takes them very seriously,” SPDC Managing Director, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu said in a statement on the Shell website.

About the Author