By Mohammed Kandi
…As Shell ignores internal concerns over Oil Spills
The Federal Ministry of Environment said it supervised the remediation of over 1, 690 oil spills sites nationwide in 2014.
This is contained in a recent report titled “Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in the Environment Sector in 2014’’.
According to the report, “The ministry’s activities on remediation in response to the persistent environmental degradation and devastation of the coastal ecosystem have doubled, especially in oil-producing areas of the Niger-Delta region.”
“To facilitate regular interaction with public, the ministry applied for and obtained a toll-free line for reporting oil spill incidents across the country; this facility will be fully activated in December 2014,” the report said, adding, “The ministry procured equipment for the Geographic information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing laboratories at the headquarters in Abuja and five zonal offices.”
“The ministry collaborated with other stakeholders to create the oil spill monitor, a robust GIS-based web platform that has raised the level of awareness and transparency in oil spill management,’’ it said.
Meanwhile in a court documents obtained by Amnesty International, Shell, which has a mandate of helping its host communities to meet the world’s demand for energy in economically, environmentally and socially responsible ways, is said to have ignored internal advice to replace the outdated trans-Niger pipeline which eventually ruptured and caused two damaging oil spills over 35 sq miles (90 sq km).
According to the document, the pipeline was 30 years old and staff at the oil major’s Niger Delta operation had already advised that it needed to be replaced because of the risk it posed to the surrounding communities.
In a 2002 internal project report, it was suggested that the company “initiate an immediate replacement” for the faulty pipeline.
However, another report which came a year earlier, spoke of a number of leaks that were already occurring from the pipeline and the “major risk and hazards” that it presented.
The report said: “A series of spills have occurred in recent times due, in most cases, to sabotage and in some cases to technical failure of pipelines resulting in major losses, environmental pollution and serious damage to the company’s image.”
It has also re-doubled its effort towards reducing incidents of oil spill and remediating the impacted sites,’’ the report stated.