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Shell confirms oil leak in Bayelsa; Residents bemoan adverse impact

Osagie Okunbor, SPDC MD/Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) on Tuesday confirmed an oil leak incident from its facility in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa amidst concerns of adverse impact by residents.

Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager at SPDC who confirmed the incident, noted that the spill which discharged a yet to be ascertained volume of crude into the environment occurred on June 15.

Odugbesan dismissed claims that the oil firm was yet to respond to the spill and said that the leak was promptly contained within SPDC’s right of way.

“On Tuesday 15 June 2021, a leak was reported at a facility of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Joint Venture at Opukushi in Ekeremo Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

“Following which The SPDC Emergency Response Team was promptly mobilised and they stopped and contained the spill within the SPDC JV right of way.

“Spill cleanup is progressing while the Joint Investigation report is being finalised for sign-off by the JIV team comprising representatives of regulatory and relevant government agencies, community and SPDC.” Odugbesan said.

Meanwhile residents of the host communities have decried the adverse impact of the pollution caused by the oil spills that occurred in June and claimed that clean-up was yet to be carried out.

It was equally gathered that the leak came from Oil Well 24, operated by SPDC.

The Head of the Family hosting the oil well, Chief Bidei Oyinmo, called on the Federal Government and the relevant regulatory agencies responsible for the protection of the environment and prevention of oil spills to come to their aid.

Oyinmo  that since the spill occurred, nothing had been done to remediate the environment, stressing that the development had negatively impacted the predominantly fishing and farming settlement.

“The SPDC owned oil well No. 24 in its Opukushi oil flowstation has been spilling and spreading crude oil into the swamps, creeks, ponds and the Dodo River.

“The spill has threatened our means of livelihoods and made things difficult for the fishermen and the women both in the neighbouring Koromotoru, Azagbene and Bilabiri communities since about a month now,” Oyinmo said.

He said the spill had stretched the people of the communities to their elastic limit hence the appeal to the government and relevant authorities to intervene.

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