Shell Nigeria recommits to clean up Bodo oil spill

Bodo creek*Dismisses suggestions of unsafe operational conduct

Hector igbikiowubo

13 November 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, SPDC, has recommitted to cleaning up the operational oil spills which occurred in Bodo, Ogoni land in 2008, while dismissing suggestions it knowingly operated with compromised pipelines.

“A spokesman for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, SPDC, said: “From the outset, we’ve accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo. We want to compensate fairly and quickly those who have been genuinely affected and to clean up all areas where oil has been spilled from our facilities.

“Following the 2008 spills, as part of a statutory process overseen by the regulator, a team including relevant government agencies, SPDC and representatives of the Bodo community visited the spill sites and completed a Joint Investigation Visit report. They estimated that the total volume of oil spilled was in the region of 4,144 barrels.

“As part of the litigation process, we asked satellite remote sensing experts, hydrologists and specialists in mangrove ecology to assess how the Bodo waterways and mangroves were impacted and other relevant information addressing the question of the volume of these spills and the extent of the damage. Having reviewed their findings, we accept that the total volume of oil released as a result of the two operational spills is likely to have exceeded the Joint Investigation Visit estimates.

“While naturally, the findings in relation to the Bodo Joint Investigation Visit and the volume of oil from these spills are of concern to us, it’s not the key issue for the purpose of determining the appropriate level of compensation. SPDC is prepared to compensate all members of the Bodo community who have been genuinely affected by the spills, taking account of the entire area which has been impacted.

“SPDC has been working together with the National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta to improve the quality of Joint Investigation Visits at SPDC facilities in the Niger Delta. A number of important changes have been made to the Joint Investigation Visit process such as the inclusion of independent observers (including NGOs) and the publication of spill reports online. We will continue to work with regulatory and community bodies in Nigeria to improve these processes further.”

SPDC dismisses the suggestion that it has knowingly continued to use a pipeline that is not safe to operate. The condition of the pipeline is regularly assessed. Also, SPDC has always made use of the opportunity presented during sabotage/crude theft point leak repairs to carry out on-the-spot coating and internal checks to confirm the integrity of the pipeline and coating. The majority of failures on the TNP have been third party damage resulting from sabotage (hacksaw cuts, drilled holes, etc.) and illegal crude theft. From 2010-13, a total of 25 leaks were recorded on the facility – 23 of which were due to sabotage and two operational pinhole leaks.

“SPDC ceased operations in Ogoniland in 1993 following a rise in violence, threats to staff and attacks on facilities. Levels of violence and criminality have remained high over the following 21 years constraining SPDC’s ability to access the area.

“We are in the process of preparing for a trial in May regarding the Bodo operational spills at which time internal documents produced by SPDC relating to the Trans-Niger Pipeline will be set in their proper context for review by the court.”

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