Port Harcourt — The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, has alleged improper clean-up and remediation of oil spill sites in Ikarama, Bayelsa State, by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
Recall that on April 7, 2021, over 110 barrels of crude oil traceable to equipment failure was spilled into the environment, from the Okordia-Rumuekpe pipeline operated by SPDC in Ikarama community, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
But ERA/FoEN in a report titled, ‘Shell’s Improper Clean-up and Remediation of Spill Sites Exposed’ said crude oil was found at depths of one meter and above in the ground, at impacted sites which SPDC and NAOC claimed to have remediated.
The report signed by Head of Field Operations, ERA/FoEN, Morris Alagoa, called on the government to ensure that the SPDC and Agip commit themselves to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.
ERA while urging the oil firms to get back to all spill sites in Bayelsa and carry out proper clean-up and remediation of all recorded spill sites in the interest of the people, indicated that its team visited Ikarama community on August 20th 2021.
The group explained that the visit followed information, including photos, it received from the community people claiming that crude oil was found in the ground in an area previously impacted by oil spills.
“On getting to the environment of interest, ERA/FoEN field monitors demanded that an entirely fresh spot be cleared and dug. It was eventually confirmed that crude oil was found in the dug area is in the depth of more than one meter.”
The report stated that ERA/FoEN has over the years documented testimonies from community folks indicating improper clean-up of spill sites by SPDC.
Alagoa lamented that oil spill sites go up in flames most often and areas where cleanup was attempted are often delayed before it is acted upon, which allows for percolation or leaching of crude oil into the ground.
“This latest revelation has confirmed ERA/FoEN’s position over the years in monitoring and reporting the Ikarama environment that Shell has not been doing proper clean-up and remediation of oil spill impacted sites.
“This is the situation in all other communities in Bayelsa. Apart from the allegation of setting oil spill sites ablaze, Shell and Agip have not carried out proper clean-up and remediation of oil spill impacted environment,” ERA/FoEN stated.
Meanwhile, SPDC has denied the allegations saying that its oil spills clean-up and remediation processes comply with industry best practices and are supervised by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency.
SPDC Media Relations Manager, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, said “The SPDC uses primarily remediation by enhanced natural attenuation (bioremediation) to clean up, a process believed to be the best for the soil and climate conditions of the hot and humid Niger Delta.
“Our clean-up and remediation are done under the regulatory oversight of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, and the Department of Petroleum Resources, and in line with a DPR-approved Remedial Action Plan.
“All our remediation practices are aimed to be compliant with the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria, EGASPIN.”