The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on Friday, September 4, 2020 confirmed the discharge of 45,000 barrels of crude oil at Angiama oilfields in Bayelsa State.
The Angiama oilfield, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), is located in the swamps of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
NOSDRA announced in its official twitter handle on Friday that the leak was traced to equipment failure during a Joint Investigative Visit to the spill incident site.
“We can confirm there was a spill at Angiama community, JIV has also been carried out. Cause of spill: Equipment Failure, Quantity of Spill: 45K Barrels.
“Results from the stakeholders meeting to be carried out soon toward the community,” NOSDRA stated.
Investigations, however, showed that although the March 17 incident was due to corrosion, the Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report usually uploaded on SPDC’s spill incident web portal had yet to be made public.
It will be recalled that the JIV process was marred by controversy between officials of SPDC and representatives of the host community over volume of spilled crude.
Chief Clement Macline, a community leader, who participated in the joint investigation in April, had said that the exercise was suspended due to the dispute over volume of leak.
“I refused to sign the form due to wide disagreement between what is on the ground and verifiable evidence, and the 43 barrels they proposed in the form. From our own perspective the volume of leak is in excess of 45,000 barrels.
“Based on verifiable evidence, we have counted the number of giant GP tanks of recovered crude and they have more than 20 of such large tanks already filled with crude and they say only 43 barrels leaked.
“What we found out from unnamed SPDC officials is that the 45,000 barrels we are estimating is very conservative because the crude oil soaked into the land whilst evaporation and water currents have taken away lots of the oil.
“So, when you look at all the factors of how long the leak lasted before it was plugged, the claims by SPDC do not add up at all, that is why I declined endorsing the claim.
“They had a similar leak late 2019, and I personally reported the spill to SPDC officials, the leak was from the well head; they came, recovered their oil, and left without re-mediating the impacted area.
“Later they denied that there was no such incident,” Macline said.
Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, the Media Relations Manager at SPDC, had acknowledged the delay in the release of the report, saying that the report could not be released because it had not been signed.
“The JIV is published after it is signed and this marks the completion of the process,” he said.
By Nathan Nwakamma