22 August, 2011, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) says it has recorded six separate oil spill incidents on the Okordia – Rumuekpe trunk line at Ikarama in Bayelsa State, between August 2 and 15 this year, all from hacksaw cuts by unknown persons.
The 33-km line receives crude oil from two flowstations which were shut down as SPDC worked to repair the leaks. Repair was completed on five previously reported incidents on 13th August.
The 6th point was sabotaged on 15th August and reportedly set on fire by unknown persons on August 18. The fire has burnt out, and an SPDC team was able to repair the last of the leak points on August 20, after about 100 community women initially blocked access to the spill site.
Tony Attah, Vice President, HSE and Corporate Affairs, Shell Sub-Saharan Africa said: “If you add the six in August to another one we recorded in June, it means there have been seven sabotage spills on the same trunkline just this year. We are concerned by the increasing cases of sabotage at Ikarama and appeal to those causing these incidents to stop for the sake of the environment, their personal safety and wellbeing of the communities. Thankfully, the fire was contained within the right-of-way of the trunkline and no buildings of any sort were burnt, contrary to the impression given in some media reports.”
On Sunday night (August 21) another three hacksaw cuts were reported on the nearby Adibawa delivery line. SPDC is mobilising to repair this line and production is shut-in.
Mr. Attah added: “We thank the Bayelsa State Government and well meaning community members for their assistance in securing access to the spill sites for investigation of the cause and repairs. While we continue to respond as quickly as possible to incidents, our task is made more difficult if people continue to carry out sabotage attacks causing spills.”
More than 75% of all oil spill incidents and more than 70% of oil spilled from the SPDC JV facilities in the Niger delta over the last five years (2006-2010) were caused by sabotage and crude theft activities.