27 August 2013, Lagos – The Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, of Nigeria said it is containing an oil spill in the Niger Delta, after the military reported liquid “jetting” out of one its pipelines.
Massive oil theft, sabotage of infrastructure and leaks from ageing pipelines are all cutting into the profits of the big oil companies operating in Nigeria as well as damaging public finances, according to a Reuters report.
The hundreds of spills a year in the Niger Delta do serious environmental damage, destroying fishing communities and poisoning water used for drinking and bathing.
The military joint taskforce said on Friday it had discovered a leak on a pipeline near Adamakiri in Rivers state while looking for illegal oil refiners. “An assessment of the spot revealed that a brownish liquid substance was observed jetting out from an opening on the pipeline,” a statement said. The commanding officer had attributed the leakage to “corrosion on the pipeline.”
Reuters quoted unnamed Shell spokesman for Shell’s Nigeria unit to have said that “oil spill containment” had been put in place but it was too early to determine the cause of the leak.
The company said most spills were due to gangs tapping pipelines to steal oil but local communities say the company is responsible for more spills than it acknowledges.
Shell is facing legal action in a UK court on behalf of 11,000 members of the Niger Delta Bodo community, who say the company is responsible for spilling 500,000 barrels in 2008. Shell has admitted liability for two spills in the Bodo region but estimates the volume is far lower.
Operational problems in Nigeria cost Shell $250 million in the second quarter of this year, the firm says. Nigeria’s government revenues slumped 42 per cent in July due to production outages, it said on Friday.
– This Day