Investigators blame Shell for oil spill in Bayelsa community 

Oredola Adeola

The operational mishap that happened on August 24, 2022, at Diebu Creek Flowstation, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), which discharged a volume of crude oil into the environment, has been pinned on equipment failure.

This was revealed by the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) assigned to investigate the crude oil leak that occurred in Peremabiri in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

According to the team led by National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), who visited the incident site on Sept. 5 and 6, the spill was caused by equipment failure, due to an operational mishap that discharged crude oil within SPDC’s operational area with no impact on third party area.

EnergyDay gathered that the NOSDRA’s 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.

Mr. Return Koma, who represented the Peremabiri community in the JIV, informed the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) that the SDPC officials, as well as regulators, confirmed the report of the team.

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

He said, “We have conducted the JIV, and 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 the 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.

In a statement issued on Sept. 5 by its spokesman, Mr. Mike Adande, SPDC said it was aware of the spill.

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

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

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.

Mr. Mike Adande, External Relations, SPDC who confirmed that the oil company was aware of the report of the spill.

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

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

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