Shell’s oil spill polluted over 113 hectares in Bayelsa – Report

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…As Owner says Several people injured in explosion at Oil Refinery in Eastern Canada***

A credible agreement is certainly yet to be reached in respect of some 1,114 barrels of crude oil leakage from an oilfield operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Aghoro community in Bayelsa, and which severely affected both the fishing vocation and social lives of the residents.

The development which industry watchers fear may snowball into dangerous arguments reportedly polluted an estimated area of 113.03 hectares, according to a joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the incident.

But the report could not be safely released as residents and SPDC, even as Monday in Yenagoa insisted on different figures, with residents claiming higher figures.

Subsequently, the disagreement among community leaders in the areas affected by the leak have stalled the release of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the oil spill, with even the Community leaders, who participated in the JIV to determine the cause of the spill, reportedly refusing to sign the report.

The refusal was attributed to wide disparity between the impacted areas claimed by Shell and the community, but Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, the Media Relations Manager at SPDC, said that the grey areas had been sorted out.

The report indicated that only 247.5 out of the 1,114 of SPDC’s crude blend had been recovered at the spill site, while the remaining were yet to be accounted for.

According to the spill incident report, the oil leak was reported on May 17, but the joint visit could not be immediately conducted until June 23.

The report said the spill was caused by equipment failure resulting from weak integrity of the 24 inch Trans Ramos Pipeline giving rise to cracks on the pipeline at Aghoro in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa.

Representatives of the host community, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and SPDC, who conducted the investigation agreed on the findings and signed the report.

NAN gathered that repair work on the leaking pipeline is underway, while recovery of spilled oil from the site is still ongoing.

Reacting to the development, Odugbesan expressed regret about incessant spills on the Trans Ramos Pipeline, saying that although the May 17 spill was traced to equipment failure, other leaks were predominantly caused by sabotage.

“The rate of spills on the Trans Ramos Pipeline is very worrisome, for instance between April and May 26, spill incidents were reported on that line and out of these, 18 of them were caused by sabotage, eight were operational,” he said.

Meanwhile, several people were injured in a blast that on Monday hit an oil refinery in the City of Saint John located in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick, plant’s owner Irving Oil said.

“As an update on our Saint John refinery incident this morning, we now understand that all employees and contractors working on site have been safely accounted for.

Several contractors are being treated for non-life threatening injuries in relation to this incident,’’ the company wrote on its Twitter page.

In an earlier tweet, the company characterised the incident as a major one.

According to media reports, the blast occurred in the morning and caused a fire at the refinery.

Causes of the incident remain unknown.