Shell alleges ‘third-party’ spill near Bonga leak

26 December 2011, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – The Royal Dutch Shell says a “third-party” vessel has spilled oil near its Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit spilled around 40,000 barrels of oil offshore Nigeria last week.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor said the other spill was hampering its efforts to clean up its own spill but contended that most of its FPSO Bonga oil leak has now “largely dispersed”.

In a statement on the website of its Nigerian arm, Shell Nigeria’s chairman Mutiu Sunmonu wrote: “Our teams witnessed oil on the surface of the water that they are sure did not come from Bonga – we have taken samples of this oil to understand where it came from.

“While that analysis is being done, I have instructed our teams to tackle all the oil they can see, including oil spilled by third parties, and to ensure all measures are taken to protect the onshore areas.”

The statement also indicated that the oil leak from the Bonga, which occurred during a routine transfer operation on 20 December, has now largely dispersed.

Sunmonu continued: “I am very sorry the leak from Bonga happened in the first place, but am now happy to confirm the oil has dispersed.”

An estimated 40,000 barrels leaked from a damaged export line running from the FPSO to a waiting tanker.

It is the largest leak off Nigeria since 1998, when a similar amount of oil leaked from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline.

Shell shut down the 200,000 barrel a day facility, which generates 10% of Nigeria’s entire oil output, in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

The company said production would not resume until after both an investigation and repairs have been completed.

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