Court imposes N62.5m fine on PPMC over spill

10 April 2012, Sweetcrude, ASABA – A Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, has ordered the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – to pay various fines totaling N62.5million for failue to clean up and remediate some oil spills.

The fines include:

· N40million for the ones that occurred at various sites in Kaduna and its environs between November 5 and December 4, 2011.

· N21.5million for failure to report oil spillage at its System 2A Pipeline at Eko-Amukpe, Delta State.

· N1million for failure to clean-up the spill, which occurred on June 6, 2009, when a ship, J.S. Amazing, was loading Low Pour Fuel Oil, LPFO or black oil at the NNPC Jetty at Ijala, Warri, Delta State in which 12 communities were impacted.

The fines were imposed by Justice I.N Buba, while delivering judgment on March 22, in the case brought before him by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, over the failure of PPMC to clean up and remediate the oil impacted sites.

The Nigerian environment has been ravaged by oil spill, which were carelessly abandoned by the operating companies, a development that has impacted negatively on the lives of the people located around the spill sites.

However, reacting to the judgment in a telephone interview, the spokesman for PPMC, Mr. Nasir Nmodagbe, insisted that the oil spill was cleaned up.

He said, “PPMC carried out the clean up as at the time of the spill with the country’s well known Clean Nigeria Associates, and we are surprised when our legal counsel that represented us in court told us about the rulings.

“The legal counsel that represented us at the court presented them with the evidence of the clean up. There is an application for the extract from the court, we have not seen it. Well we are waiting to see the extract from the court.”

In a statement on the ruling from the Head of the Public Affairs Unit of NOSDRA, Mr. Henshaw Ogubike, said the court among others, upheld that:

*The PPMC was in breach of section 6(3) of the NOSDRA Act when it failed and refused to clean-up and bio-remediate the impacted sites,

*The Agency had power under its enabling Act to impose the fine of N1million on PPMC and ordered them to pay same to NOSDRA,

*The PPMC was liable for the damages done by the spill and ordered them to clean-up and bio-remediate all the impacted sites.

The statement also read in part, “Apart from the PPMC’s refusal to pay the fine imposed by NOSDRA over the spill from the ship J.S Amazing which made NOSDRA to drag them to Federal High Court, the company has also failed, refused and neglected to remit the sum of N21.5million for failure to report oil spillage at its system 2A pipeline at Eko-Amukpe, Delta State and N40million for the ones that occurred at it various sites in Kaduna and its environ between November 5 and December 4, 2011.”

It could be recalled that NOSDRA, which is charged with the enforcement of compliance with all legislation in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, had taken necessary steps against some companies in a bid to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Agency’s enabling Act.

The Agency had also brought its weight down on other companies including Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO, Ltd and Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, for failure to report oil spills or refused to clean-up impacted sites as well as refused to pay fines.

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