FG Shuts Down Santa Babara Oilfields After ‘Unfortunate’ Spill

Bayelsa is a state in southern part of Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region.
Bayelsa is a state in southern part of Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region.

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday ordered the shut down of the Santa Barbara oil fields in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over what it described as an “unfortunate oil spillage.”

The spill occurred on November 5 within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.

“In a proactive measure to address the recent unfortunate oil spillage at Santa Barbara in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, the Federal Government has directed the exploration company, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo) to halt operations in the area until proper investigation is carried out and adequate measures put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area,” a statement signed by Ministry of Environment spokesperson, Saghir el Mohammed, said.

READ ALSO: Buhari Promises To Take Action On Gas Price Hike

“It can be recalled that the spill occurred on November 5, 2021 in a form of fountain on within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.

“Upon receipt of the report of the incident, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regualtory Commission (NUPRC), Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, Community representatives and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company was set up on November 6, 2021 to immediately address the situation. The exercise was inclusive because of inaccessibility to the well head location due to the hydrocarbon fumes that saturated the atmosphere in the area.

“Consequently, the JIT directed AEEPCo to shut in the impacted asset (well head) for appropriate oil II response. Accordingly, AEEPCo deployed booms and skimmers to contain the spill crude oil from spreading.

“As at November 10, 2021, efforts to shut in the well has proven difficult due to inaccessibility. But in an effort to safeguard the environment and livelihood, staff from the NOSDRA’s Yenagoa Field Office were deployed to the site to monitor and give progress report on the measures being taken to address the issue. There is further directives to AEEPCo to engage all relevant stakeholders in the spilled oil recovery process.

“In this vein, 3000 barrels of emulsified crude oil have been recovered and held in a recovery barge. Also, additional booms were deployed by the Clean Nigeria Associates, a Tier II response (CNA) System to work with the on-site recovery contractor.

“Further effort yielded result as containment and recovery within the leak area have been reinforced by 15th November. Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) has mobilized to site for enhanced containment and recovery. Boot & Coots, mobilized for well control and securing. AEEPCo has secured temporary Work Permit for expatriates expected in the country for the activity. Logistics support and arrangement build-up for the Well kill activity is currently ongoing.

“Based on JIT reports, a well control company (Kenyon International) was at the incident location for an on-site assessment. Meanwhile containment and recovery is still on-going. It is instructive to note that the well head experts have arrived Nigeria and will commence work on the killing of the well tomorrow.

“However, in order to ensure safety and guaranty future operations in the area by AEEPCo, NOSDRA has mandated the company to carry out concrete actions to address the situation that include clean-up of impacted areas, remediation of spill site as well as damage assessment and post spill impact assessment.

“The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency through the Federal Ministry of Environment will keep the public informed of future developments on the spill incident with an effort to contained further spread and limit the effect on the environment.”

Thousands Protest In Mauritius Over Giant Oil Spill

People wave the national flag as they attend a protest against the government's response to the oil spill disaster that happened in early August at St Louis Cathedral in Port Louis, on the island of Mauritius, on August 29, 2020. Beekash Roopun / L'Express Maurice / AFP
People wave the national flag as they attend a protest against the government’s response to the oil spill disaster that happened in early August at St Louis Cathedral in Port Louis, on the island of Mauritius, on August 29, 2020. Beekash Roopun / L’Express Maurice / AFP

 

Tens of thousands of Mauritians protested Saturday in the capital Port Louis over the government’s handling of a giant oil spill off its pristine Indian Ocean coast.

The Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed into a reef off southeastern Mauritius last month spewing more than 1,000 tonnes of oil into waters that are home to mangrove forests and endangered species.

After the boat split in two, the larger piece was towed out to sea and sunk, but the smaller section remains stranded on the reef.

The call for the march came from an ordinary citizen, Jean Bruneau Laurette, who has become a hero among many for daring to oppose Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

People hold up the national flag and placards as they protest against the government's response to the tanker oil spill disaster that happened in early August in Port Louis, on the island of Mauritius, on August 29, 2020. Fabien Dubessay / AFP
People hold up the national flag and placards as they protest against the government’s response to the tanker oil spill disaster that happened in early August in Port Louis, on the island of Mauritius, on August 29, 2020. Fabien Dubessay / AFP

 

Laurette, a maritime security expert, says the government has been hiding the truth about the circumstances of the oil spill. He has filed a case against the environment ministry.

Up to 75,000 protesters thronged the square in front of the cathedral in downtown Port-Louis, an AFP reporter said, in the biggest demonstration in 40 years.

Many of them were dressed in black — the colour of mourning. Public anger has boiled over in Mauritius after at least 34 melon-headed whales were found dead or seriously ill near the site of the spill.

Fisheries minister Sudheer Maudhoo had said there was “no trace of hydrocarbons on them or in their respiratory system”.

“This rally is an occasion to send a message to tell Pravind Jugnauth he has messed up,” marcher Jocelyne Leung, 35, told AFP.

“This is the first time that a citizens’ demonstration has gathered such a big crowd,” said Ajay Gunness, the number two of the opposition MMM party.

Many protesters carried the national flag, sang the national anthem, and called for Jugnauth to step down.

Authorities and experts from Japan and Britain are still investigating the true extent of the ecological damage to an island whose economy depends heavily on tourism.

This archipelago is a tourist haven and many of it’s 1.3 population derive their livelihood from tourism or fishing.

Veteran politician Jugnauth, whose current stint in power began in 2017, has denied making any mistakes in handling the spill.

 

 

AFP

Mauritius Dodges Second Oil Spill

This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the southeast coast of Mauritius.  Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP
This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the southeast coast of Mauritius. Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP

 

Mauritius avoided a second catastrophic oil spill Wednesday after salvage crews pumped the remaining fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship that ran aground off its coast, imperilling world-famous wildlife sanctuaries.

The stricken vessel threatens to break apart after more than two weeks stranded on a reef, where it leaked more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel into pristine seas.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said “all the fuel” had been pumped from reservoirs beneath the MV Wakashio bulk carrier, dodging what experts warned would been a crippling blow to an island nation popular with honeymooners and ecotourists.

“It was a race against the clock, and I salute the excellent work to prevent another oil spill,” said Jugnauth, who added that another 100 tonnes still remained elsewhere aboard the Japanese-owned ship.

“The weather was calm and it helped the pumping exercise, it also prevented the breakup of the boat, which is inevitable.”

Mauritius declared an unprecedented environmental emergency last week as the Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25, began seeping oil into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species.

Jugnauth said the “ecological crisis” was beyond the scope of the tiny Indian Ocean nation, and appealed for urgent international help.

France and Japan were among those to answer the call, along with thousands of ordinary Mauritians who volunteered day and night to clean sludge from the picturesque tropical coastline to which their economy is deeply tied.

Jugnauth acknowledged there was “still a lot of work to do” assessing and cleaning up the damage, but refused to take responsibility for the disaster.

“How did I do wrong?” he said, adding bad weather hindered efforts to pump oil from the ship earlier.

“We did everything right from the start. We were told that the risks of an oil spill were very low. The experts convinced us otherwise.”

Police have launched an investigation into the accident and have seized the black box, log book and other items of interest from the vessel as part of their inquiries.

Wildlife jewel

Fresh cracks appeared in the hull this week near the fuel reservoirs, spurring fears that the Wakashio could soon split up and inflict irreversible damage on the archipelago’s fragile marine ecosystem.

The ship struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological treasure fringed by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and protected wetlands.

This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows an overview of the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the coast of Mauritius. Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP
This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows an overview of the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the coast of Mauritius. Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP

 

Aerial images showed huge stretches of crystal-clear seas around the marooned cargo ship stained an inky black.

Pressure has mounted on the government to explain why it did not act earlier, with calls for the fisheries and environment ministers to resign, and volunteers angrily defying official orders to stay away from the clean-up site.

Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for food and ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.

The spill is a double blow for tourist operators who had hoped foreign tourists could soon return.

The country has no active cases of coronavirus and had declared a wary victory after a long stretch without any new infections, but its borders remain closed.

 

AFP

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says ‘Worst Is Yet To Come’ On Oil Spill

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the changing of the guard ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on July 31, 2019./AFP

 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Sunday that “the worst is yet to come” with an oil spill that has affected more than 200 beaches on the country’s coast.

“What came so far and what was collected is a small amount of what was spilled,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with Record television.

He said he did not know if additional oil would impact his country’s coastline, but that “everything indicates that the currents went to the coast of Brazil.”

Oil slicks have been appearing for three months off the coast of northeast Brazil and fouling beaches along a 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) area of Brazil’s most celebrated shoreline.

Crews and volunteers have cleaned up tons of oil on the beaches.

Officials say it not yet possible to quantify the environmental and economic damage from the oil slicks.

The government on Friday named a Greek-flagged tanker as the prime suspect behind the oil slicks.

The ship Bouboulina took on oil in Venezuela and was headed for Singapore, it said.

The space agency Inpe said Friday there might still be oil at sea being pushed by currents and it could reach the states of Espiritu Santo and Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil.

Bayelsa Govt. Admonishes Oil Firms On Flouting Court Orders

Oil, Bayelsa, CourtThe Bayelsa State Government has expressed concern and displeasure with oil firms for flouting court orders on oil spill cases in the state.

The government decried the alleged ‘blatant disregard for court rulings’ and called on oil firms operating in the state to embrace the rule of law.

The appeal was made by the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Oil and Gas, Mr Felix Ayah, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

“Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has reneged its corporate social responsibilities to maintain peace in its operations, negating the state government’s effort to strengthen the existing peace for smooth operations by (the) oil firms.

“After going through the outcome of the court’s verdict at my disposal authenticating Anyamawari family as certified owners of the land, it is incumbent on SPDC to recognise and treat them as such,” said Mr Ayah who mediated in a peace meeting between Onyoma community in Southern Ijaw and the SPDC.

He advised the Anyamawari family to channel all relevant documents to appropriate quarters of the company for prompt action and payments of all outstanding obligations without further delay.

An official of the SPDC, who said that the oil firm had laid down procedures in resolving issues with communities where it operates, urged the community to follow the same process.

The Bayelsa Government had in January 2016 sued the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, seeking 1.6 trillion naira damages for pollution caused by an oil spill in Brass area of the state in November 2013.

Niger Delta Should Have Special Development Status – VP Osinbajo

VP Osinbajo Visits Gbaramatu Kingdom in Niger DeltaNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday paid a visit to the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, recommending that the region should have a special development zone status.

Osinbajo was accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and was received in Delta State by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

In his address of welcome, entitled: ‘We must prepare for the future’, he advocated sustainable development for the Niger Delta region.

“An Area Of Poor Infrastructure”

“The Niger Delta that we see today, including this great kingdom, is an area of poor infrastructure – few schools, few hospitals, and severe pollution.

“The Niger Delta of today, is one of daily pipeline vandalism. In 2014 alone, there were over 3,700 incidents of pipeline vandalism.

“The Niger Delta of today is one where, aside from environmental degradation, between 1998 and 2015, over 20,000 persons have died from fire incidents, arising from breach of the pipeline.

“Everywhere you go, there are signboards of proposed projects, mostly uncompleted or abandoned altogether.

“Many of the initiatives to change the story, have not been able to make the big changes required,” the Vice President stated.

Citing several examples, dating back to the 60’s, down to the present day amnesty programmes, the Professor Osinbajo said many of such programmes have not been able to meet up with their objectives.

However, he charged the people, stressing that “the future, is not a future of environmental degradation, poor infrastructure, poor roads”and the likes.

Rather, it is a future of “progress and development” but according to him, “there is no time, as the future is already here”.

He then stated that in order to ensure that the future is not worse than today, three things must happen.

Also he believes that while the government plays its own part, the people have to combine efforts with it, in order to realise the desired development.

One of such things, he stressed, was that the people “must recognise the unique environmental and terrain challenges of the Niger Delta.

“We must recognise that the Niger Delta is a special development zone for this nation.

“It means that the Federal and State governments, the National Assembly representatives, along-side the NDDC and the civil society representatives, of the Niger Delta people must sit together, develop, plan and fund an arrangement for rapid development,” he stressed.

Also, in furtherance of development in the region, Professor Osinbajo revealed that the Pan Niger Delta Forum had come up with 16 dialogue issues that would be extremely helpful in ascertaining its key development priorities.

He stated that the region must also hold some of the international oil companies, to their agreement with host communities.

“We must promote indigenous participation in oil companies,” he added.

He also hinted that in the 2017 budget, provision had been made for the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar railway. (the coastal railway).

Mr Osinbajo is expected to also visit a number of oil communities across some Niger Delta states, where he is expected to address issues affecting the region and bring an end to militant attacks on Nigeria’s oil and gas facilities.

According to a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo would also be visiting Bayelsa and Rivers States at a later date to be announced.

Spokesperson for the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, described the move as further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s readiness and determination to comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

Osinbajo Commences Interactions With Oil-Producing Communities

Osinbajo Commences Interactions With Oil-Producing CommunitiesVice President Yemi Osinbajo will be visiting a number of oil communities across some Niger Delta states starting on Monday, January 16, 2017, when he travels to Delta State.

According to a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo would also be visiting Bayelsa and Rivers States at a later date to be announced soon.

Spokesperson for the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, described the move as further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s readiness and determination to comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

He stated: “At these visits, the Vice President will lead high-level delegations of the Federal Government that will interact with leaders and representatives of the oil-producing communities in continuation of ongoing outreach efforts of the Buhari administration towards a long lasting and permanent resolution of the Niger Delta crisis.

“The Buhari presidency is fully committed to having an effective dialogue and positive engagement that will end the crisis in the oil-producing areas, and believes that these visits would further boost the confidence necessary for the attainment of peace and prosperity in the areas and the Nigerian nation in general.”

Oil Spill: Nigerian Communities Tackle Shell In London Court

Oil Spill: Nigerian Communities Battle Shell In London CourtA High Court in London will determine whether Royal Dutch Shell can face trial in the United Kingdom over allegations of oil spill in Nigeria.

Reuters said the court would decide in a matter of weeks whether members of Bille and Ogale communities in Rivers State can sue shell in British courts.

This follows the claim by the law firm representing the communities that Nigerian courts are not strong enough to handle the matter in a reasonable time.

The Anglo-Dutch company, however, insisted that the case should be heard in Nigeria as the matter was the country’s problem.

Shell denied responsibility for the oil spills, but attributed it to sabotage and illegal refining by some people in the two oil-rich communities.

The case was said to have been filed shortly after the company admitted responsibility for two pipeline leaks in 2008, and agreed to pay the sum of 55 million pounds to Bodo community, also in Rivers State.

Oil Spill Hits Bayelsa Community

Oil Spill Hits Bayelsa CommunityA field report by Environmental Right Action (ERA) has indicated that oil spills from Tebidaba-Ogboinbiri crude line operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has discharged massive volumes of crude into surrounding environment.

The report claimed that officials of NAOC had commenced recovery of spilled crude from Ikienghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The report, signed by Head of Field Operations at ERA, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said that more than 30 plastic tanks of 2,000 litres of crude had already been recovered by Agip officials.

ERA, the environment focused non-governmental organisation regretted that a joint investigative visit had yet to be conducted to ascertain the cause of the leak and urged the management of NAOC to urgently convene a JIV to the spill impacted site.

Some community sources at Ikienghenbiri said that the development had crippled economic activities in the predominantly fishing and farming coastal settlement as oil recovery was still ongoing at the spilled site.

A former Community Development Committee Chairman in Ikienghenbiri, Mr. Marshall Josiah, said that the community had reported the incident promptly but the oil firm had allegedly delayed its response resulting in the massive leaks.

He said, “Due to the heavy volume of crude oil so far spewed, we have not been able to commence the process of clamping the ruptured point.

“We are looking for a way to evacuate the crude oil from the place to enable us to access the oil-bearing pipe and repair it.

“That is what we are doing now, recovery of spilled crude oil. No JIV has been done on this spill incident.

“I saw several Geepee (plastic) tanks being used for the recovery exercise. From my observation, it may take them up to two or three months to conclude that task. And much of the surrounding bush/swamps have been completely polluted.”

The Community leader regretted that the pollution had depleted the arable land and fishing grounds available to Ikienghenbiri for fishing and farming, adding that urgent steps should be taken to bring reliefs to the people affected by the spills.

Officials of NAOC declined comments when contacted for comments.

16 Points Presented By Niger Delta Leaders To End Militancy

niger-delta-indigenes-and-muhammadu-buhari

At a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government officials on Tuesday, representatives of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria presented 16 points they believe should be considered by the government and implemented to end militancy in the region and boost development.

  1. The presidential amnesty Programme: the decry that out of the five components of the disarmament and retrieval of weapons from the ex-militants, only the disarmament and demobilisation component is being implemented. Tensions over the fate of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is as a result of lack of genuine exit strategy. They want the Programme reviewed to reappraise its core mandate to provide a robust exist strategy, in order to transit recipients into jobs, effectively integrate them and few the of dependency on stipends, so that their new-found skills would be of benefit to themselves and larger community.
  2. Law and Justice issues: in view of the insecurity situation in the Niger delta, a number of pending law and justice issues regarding some aggrieved groups and individuals are yet to be resolved. It is important to address these issues urgently as a step towards lasting peace.
  1. The effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta: the increased in military presence has resulted in invasion of communities, displacement of persons, harassment and other firms of human rights abuse. They want government to halt the the escalation of tension in the region.
  2. Plights of internally displaced persons: they want relevant government agencies to take urgent measures to meet their immediate needs of those displaced by upsurge of insecurity in the region.
  3. The Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation: they want government to speed up the exercise. They want government to enforce zero gas flare deadline. They want the devastating effects of coastal erosion and lack of an effective shoreline protection for the coastal communities tackled urgently. They ask federal government to commission a region-wide credible assessment of the impacts of crude oil pollution of the environment in the region and undertake to enforce environmental laws.
  4. The Maritime University Issue: want prompt take off of the Niger Delta university
  5. Key regional critical infrastructure: they want completion of of East-West road, full implementation of the rail project that is designated to run through the Niger Delta region to Lagos.
  6. Security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure. They want pipeline surveillance contracts given to the communities rather than individuals in a manner that is some benefits to their responsibility. Communities would the see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them.
  7. Relocation of Administrative and Operational Headquarters of IOCs: the headquarters of most oil companies are not located in the Niger Delta Region. As a result the region is denies all the developmental and associated benefits that would have accrued to the region from their presence. It has therefore become imperative for the IOCs to relocate to their areas of operation. This move will create a mutually beneficial relationship with the host communities.

10: Power supply: they advocate a power plan that strongly ties power supply in the region to gas supplies, thereby giving all sides a stake in proved stability.

  1. Economic development and empowerment: they want Brass LNG and fertiliser plant project including the Train 7 implemented, reviewing and updating the national gas master plan to integrate the economic interests and industrialization of the region, creating a Niger Dekta industrial corridor that would process some portions of the bat hydrocarbon natural resources, expediting work on the export processing zones, harnessing the huge rain-fed agricultural potentials of the area through the development of farms estates, fishery development projects and Agro-Allied industrial clusters etc.
  2. Inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs. They want the federal government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation as well as imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets.
  3. Restructuring and funding of the NDDC: The restructuring will ensure it refocuses as a true interventionist agency to respond swiftly to the yearnings of the grassroots of the Niger Delta. Communities must be able to have a say in what projects come to them and also want full implementation of the funding provisions of the NDDC Act.
  4. Strengthening the Niger Delta Ministry: they say the era of abysmal funding should end. The ministry should be adequately funded and strengthen to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
  5. The Bakassi Question, recommend a comprehensive resettlement plan including development for the host communities and displaced population to reduce the risk of making the into a stateless people.
  6. Fiscal federalism, the region supports the call for true federalism and urged that federal government should treat the matter expeditiously.

Niger Delta: Shell Pays Bodo £55 Million Over Oil Spills

OgoniOil giant,  Shell has made an out-of-court settlement to the tune of 55 million pounds to Bodo, Niger Delta,  for oil spills which led to the destruction of the community’s livelihood, mainly fishing and farming.

The £55m will be split between £35m for 15,600 individuals and £20m for the community.

Two oil spills occurred at Bodo in the Niger Delta in 2008, the first in August and the second in December, after which Amnesty International and CEHRD gave backing to the community to secure compensation and clean up.

In 2011, the people of Bodo, represented by a UK law firm, began court proceedings in the UK against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.

“While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn’t have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

Shell had initially admitted that the oil spills were the fault of failures on the company’s pipeline at Bodo, but claimed that the volume of oil spilt was approximately 4,000 barrels for both spills combined.

However, In 2012 Amnesty International, using an independent assessment of video footage of the first oil spill, calculated that the total amount of oil split exceeded 100,000 barrels for this spill alone.

In the course of the legal battle, Shell admitted that its figures were wrong and it had underestimated the amount of oil spilt in both of the Bodo cases. It also noted that  it had been aware, at least since 2002, that most of its oil pipelines were old, and some sections contained “major risk and hazard”.

House Fines Shell $3.6 Billion Over Bonga Spill

ShellThe House of Representatives Committee on Environment has directed Shell Nigeria Exploration Company to pay the sum of 3.6 billion dollars, which is about N604 billion naira as damages for the Bonga oil spill caused by its equipment failure.

The Chairman of the Committee, Uche Ekwunife, gave the directive during an investigative public hearing on the Bonga crude oil spill, which occurred on the December 20, 2011.

“Since all efforts by this committee were tactfully rebuffed by SNEPCO, (it) has decided to adopt the damage assessment report submitted by NOSDRA as the lead agency in all oil spill management,” Ekwunife said.

The breakdown of the independent value analysis adopted by the committee indicated that Shell is to pay 63.6 billion naira for direct losses, which are irreversible damages, another 103.192 billion naira for loss of income, 85 billion naira for provision of water, while 27.4billion naira is for forestry.

For the indirect losses, the oil company is to pay 14.35 billion naira for health hazards; eight million naira for injurious affection and 302.4 billion naira for punitive damage.

The House reached the decision based on the report of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), which previously recommended a fine of $5 billion.

NOSDRA estimated that around 40,000 barrels were spilled when a tanker was loading crude at the offshore platform operated by Shell’s subsidiary SNEPCO.

NOSDRA has previously said the spill had hurt locals in the area who rely on fishing for their livelihoods as the slick covered an area of around 950 square km.

 

Shell is one of Nigeria’s oldest energy companies.

Shell companies in Nigeria produce oil and gas from land and swamps in the Niger Delta and from deep-water reserves some 120 kilometres off the coast.

Shell also operate Nigeria’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, which exports all over the world.