The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has raised the alarm over the safety implications both for the people and nearby communities following the illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State. Some people have camped out day and night at the two facilities since August 11.
In a statement by Shell Spokesperson, Nigeria, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, Sunday, SPDC said it was â€œdeeply concerned that unauthorised persons, including women and children, have been observed in close proximity to equipment that process crude oil and gas without the protection of safety clothing that is mandatory for people working in or accessing such restricted areasâ€.
It said that SPDC had carried out an emergency shutdown of production ahead of the illegal occupation, but had been unable to access the facilities since then to ensure a safe shutdown over a prolonged period.
According to Odugbesan, â€œThe continued illegal occupation for many days exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences.â€
SPDC however said it remains committed to the development of the Niger Delta especially host communities including Belema and Kula, adding that its JV partners have contributed $29 billion to the economic growth of Nigeria between 2012â€“2016.
The SPDC JV is also currently supporting various GMoU Cluster Development Boards in the Niger Delta and mentoring NGOs to deploy a total of N7 billion for development projects of host communitiesâ€™ choice under the GMoU programme, it added.