Oil major, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) on Tuesday confirmed an oil spill at its facility in Bayelsa state last month.
The oil leak was reported on June 15, at an SPDC facility at Opukushi, a predominantly fishing and farming town in the Ekeremo local government area of the southern state of Bayelsa, according to a statement by the oil firm.
The spill discharged a yet-to-be ascertained volume of crude into the environment, the statement said, dismissing claims by residents that the oil firm was yet to respond to the spill.
SPDC operations in the Niger Delta region are spread over 30,000 square km. The oil firm is the largest private-sector oil and gas company in the country, operating a joint venture between the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and others.
It said that the recent leak was promptly contained within the SPDC’s right of way and that its emergency response team was promptly mobilized, to stop and contain the spill.
“Spill clean-up is progressing while the joint investigation report is being finalized for sign-off by the team comprising representatives of regulatory and relevant government agencies, the community, and the SPDC,” the oil firm said.
Residents of the host communities have decried the pollution caused by the oil spill and claimed that clean-up was yet to be carried out.
A local community chief at Opukushi told reporters on Tuesday that the oil flow station has been spilling and spreading crude oil into the swamps, creeks, ponds, and the Dodo River in that part of the country.
The chief, Bidei Oyinmo said the spill had made life difficult and threatened the means of livelihood of the fishing and farming settlement.
“It has made things difficult for fishermen and residents in neighboring Koromotoru, Azagbene, and Bilabiri communities since about a month now,” Oyinmo said, calling on the Nigerian government and relevant regulatory agencies responsible for the protection of the environment and prevention of oil spills to assist.