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SPDC, Imo community differ on oil spill

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Oil spillage


• Firm Loses When Oil Spills, Says Odungbesan

OBIAKPU community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Council of Imo State has accused Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of allowing oil that spilled in the area to cause havoc, without doing anything about it.

This was made known to The Guardian by Spaces for Change (S4C), non-governmental organisation. According to the community, the spill caused by leakages from oil pipelines owned by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and operated by SPDC.

It alleged that the spill resulted in an inferno, which raged continuously from May 16 to May 30, 2021,before it was finally put out.

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“The fire contaminated water sources, devastated farmlands and traditional livelihoods, leaving communities poorer and traumatised,” the community claimed.

The group condemned importation of bad environmental practice prevalent in the Niger Delta Region into Imo by multinational oil companies.

But SPDC denied neglecting such environmental disaster, arguing that any spill was a loss to the company. SPDC Media Relations Manager, Bamidele Ogungbesan, said it defied logic for a business entity to see its product wasting without doing anything about it, adding that “any drop of oil that spilled from its facility was a loss to the company. Moreso, when the spill is detrimental to the environment, at a time the world is facing climate issues.”

He said: “No spill is acceptable to us. We work hard to prevent spills from our operations. We respond promptly to stop and contain every spill from our facility after which cleanup and remediation activities are commenced. This is irrespective of the cause of the spill.

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“The unfortunate oil spill incident of May 16, 2021 incident affecting the 16-inch Egbema-Assa pipeline at Obile, Imo State, resulted from a third-party interference with an SPDC JV facility and we took immediate steps to stop the spill and successfully contained the spread within the SPDC JV right of way.”

He blamed pipeline vandals, crude oil thieves and illegal refinery operators for the fire outbreaks around SPDC’s facilities. According to him, government-led spill investigation reports are available on the SPDC website.

“We have continued to work with government agencies, non-governmental organisations and communities to pro-actively minimise or stop spills from illegal activity.

“On the social investment side, where we do operate, we bring jobs, support local supply chains and invest in the education and reliable healthcare in areas where we operate people rely on, just as we provide billions of naira in income to the Nigerian government,” he added.

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