26 December 2011, Sweetcrude, Lagos – A group of international and Nigerian journalists will today fly to an area off the coast of Nigeria to see for themselves how the oil that leaked from SNEPCo’s Bonga facility has largely dispersed. This follows an overflight by Nigeria’s Minister for the Environment and the Director General of NOSDRA on Saturday 24 December.
A statement on the company’s website said less than 40,000 barrels of oil leaked on December 20 2011 during a routine operation to transfer oil from Bonga’s floating production, storage and off-take (FPSO) vessel to an oil tanker.
Since the leak, teams from SNEPCo have worked around the clock with international oil spill experts, using a combination of dispersants and booms to tackle the leaked oil. SNEPCo will continue to monitor the area using boats, aircraft and satellite imagery, and will take appropriate steps to disperse any further persistent oil sheens.
The company said in addition to seeing how the oil from Bonga has largely dispersed, the journalists will be taken by helicopter to see where third party oil, believed to have been spilled from another vessel in the area, has hampered SNEPCo’s efforts to tackle the leak from Bonga. This oil has come ashore on short areas of coastline. SNEPCo will clean up this oil, both on and offshore.
“It’s important for the media, and the public, to see not only the results of our successful efforts to tackle the leak from Bonga, but also how third party activity has made the operation more challenging.
“While we do not believe the new oil is from Bonga, – and we are carrying out analysis to verify this – as a prudent corporate citizen, SNEPCo will tackle all the oil its teams can see offshore or which has come onshore in this area, including oil spilled by third parties. All necessary measures will be taken to protect the coastline, wildlife and the communities that live there, and where necessary to clean onshore areas. We do not believe that any of the oil from Bonga has reached the shore,” Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell Nigeria’s country chair, said.