Multiple spills from Shell facility contaminate Taylor Creek in Bayelsa

Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell MD07 May 2013, Yenagoa – Residents of Ikarama community have reported that several oil spills from nearby oil wells have contaminated the Taylor Creek in Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

The residents along the Biseni/JK4 Road area said that they had sighted three different spill points within the area, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

Oil spill response workers from Shell were seen with a vacuum truck near Shell’s well 2 in Biseni sucking up the oil from the waterways, NAN reported.

The affected area has crude pipelines belonging to both Shell and Agip traversing through the community.

The cause of the spill could not immediately be identified by the community as the field is notorious for frequent pipeline sabotage caused by crude oil thieves.

It will be recalled that Agip was compelled to shut down its onshore crude production facilities in Bayelsa due to unsustainable levels of oil theft.

Agip on March 23 said that oil theft from its facilities in the state accounted for a daily loss of 7,000 barrels out of its 40,000 barrels crude production and declared “force majeure” on its oil output.

Force majeure is a legal clause that frees an oil firm for failure to crude buyers to meet its supply obligations due to circumstances outside its control.

Mr Morris Alagoa, an environmental rights activist and Head of Bayelsa Office of Environmental Rights Action, an NGO, said that the source could either be from Agip or Shell as the two firms have operations in the area.

“Field monitors of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, were informed of a spreading crude oil slick on the Taylor Creek.

“The information had it that the oil slick was sighted at Ikarama community in Okordia clan and that it was suspected to be coming from either JK4 in Ahoada West Local Government Area, LGA, of Rivers, owned by Shell or from Biseni in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa, operated by Agip.”

However, Moses Onyah, an indigene of the area, said on Monday that the spill, which must have emanated from Shell oil fields in the area, started on April 28.

“We heard of the spill on Sunday (April 28). But the spill must have occurred in the night of April 27. If not for the spraying into the air that attracted passersby, we wouldn’t have known in time.

“SPDC came to stop/clamp the ruptured point on April 30. As per the cause of spill, we are not sure; but SPDC claimed it was sabotage.

“The crude oil flowed into the water channel and down it goes into the Taylor Creek. The Taylor Creek is not far from here; if people say they saw crude oil spreading to their community, it may be from here,” Onyah said.

When contacted by a NAN correspondent for a reaction on the multiple spills from its oil fields in Bayelsa, Mr. Precious Okolobo, a Shell spokesman, declined comments.

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