Oil Spill from Shell’s Well in Bayelsa Community Traced to Equipment Failure

Oil Spill from Shell’s Well in Bayelsa Community Traced to Equipment Failure

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The August 24 leak from Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) facilities at Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has been traced to equipment failure.

The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the incident site on September 5th and 6th, concluded that the oil spill in the area was caused by equipment failure.

A field report of the JIV by National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) seen by THISDAY revealed that the leak was due to operational mishap that discharged crude oil within SPDC’s operational area with no impact on third party area.

JIV is a statutory step that follows every oil spill incident by representatives of oil firms, host community and regulators to ascertain the cause, volume and area impacted by the oil spill incident.

Mr. Return Koma, who represented the Peremabiri community on the JIV, said yesterday that officials of SPDC, as well as regulators were unanimous that the incident being investigated was traced to equipment failure. He noted that an operational mishap on August 24 at Diebu Creek Flowstation, operated by SPDC discharged a yet-to-be ascertained volume of crude into the environment.

Koma, who is the Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Peremabiri, however said that the JIV could not arrive at the volume of spilled crude and so did not sign the JIV report.

“We have conducted the JIV, they accepted responsibility for the leak incident at the flow station and another one at nearby Well 6, both were due to equipment failure.

“We were unable to agree on the volume of spilled crude and so did not sign the report,” he said.

The people of Peremabiri community had lamented the adverse impact of the spill and alleged insensitivity, neglect and delayed response by SPDC.

They said the delayed response to the spill by SPDC had led to damage to the land and marine environment and impacted a wider area.

SPDC had in a statement on September 5, by its spokesman, Mr. Mike Adande, confirmed that the oil firm was aware of the report of the spill.

Adande had said “We are working with regulators and local community to investigate the reported incident.

“The Diebu Creek stopped injection into the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) on February 25, owing to constant breaches of the TNP by crude oil thieves.

“The TNP is currently undergoing tests with water main flushing.”

According to residents, the discharge of large volumes of crude into the environment has polluted the Nun river, swamps and farmlands causing hardships to the predominantly fishing and  farming settlement.

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