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NOSDRA threatens to sanction Shell over $3b fine on oil spill



Chief Executive of NOSDRA, Sir Peter Idabor

THE National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has threatened to sanction the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), for failure to pay $3.6 bilion fine for damages to the livelihood of host communities through its massive oil spill.

The oil spill monitoring agency alleged that SNEPCO spilled about 40,000 barrels of crude oil from its Bonga oil field due to technical failures but failed to clean up within the stipulated period by the law.

The Head/Deputy Director, Public Affairs Unit ( PAU) of the agency, Henshaw Ogubike, said NOSDRA has issued a reminder to SNEPCO, notifying it of the sanction the agency imposed on the oil firm in 2014 for damage done to the natural resources and means of livelihood by the Bonga oil spill of December 20, 2011.

The reminder was contained in a letter signed by the Director-General/Chief Executive of NOSDRA, Sir Peter Idabor, which directed SNEPCO to pay the sum of $3,600,191,206.00 or it’s naira equivalent as compensation and administrative costs for failure to effect clean up on the impacted site within the stipulated period, as provided in the agency’s Act and Regulations.

He said that despite the fact that the incident was caused by equipment failure and the admission by the then Managing Director that 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled into the Atlantic Ocean, no attempt was made by the oil company to provide relief materials for the shoreline fishing communities with respect to the acute and chronic impact of the crude oil on the environment.

According to him, NOSDRA had earleir in 2014 issued a notification of sanction to the oil multinational with regards to the Bonga spill incident, but it has yet neither paid compensation to the affected shoreline communities nor provided relief materials to them, as directed by the agency and the House Committee on Environment.

By virtue of the latest reminder on the notification of sanction on the spill incident, NOSDRA has directed SNEPCO to pay the said fine and compensation or face the legal machinery available to the agency to ensure its compliance, he stated.

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