Ije Ododo – Thieves who wanted to steal gasoline from a pipeline running near Nigeria’s megacity of Lagos have sparked a massive fire.
The fire began on Monday in Ije Ododo, in a swampy mangrove forest in the western fringe of the sprawling city of Lagos.
On Thursday, fire-fighters sprayed water around the site, trying to stop the fire from spreading. The ground turned to a foul-smelling mud, with puddles of fuel and dirt looking red.
Pipeline ruptures remain common in Nigeria, an oil-rich nation where militants and criminals routinely tap into lines to steal crude oil and refined gasoline.
While the government criticises those stealing from the lines, it often remains the only quick way to make money in a nation where most earn the equivalent of a $1 day.
and a bit of a flashback as oil spills are not considered that common!
Oil thieves disrupt Nigeria pipeline
Lagos – Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has shut down a pipeline in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta after finding leaks it blamed on oil thieves.
In a statement, Shell said its Nigerian subsidiary shut down the Imo River trunk line which had six “theft points”. It said the shutdown of the line would cut production by about 25 000 barrels of oil a day.
Shell said sabotage has been responsible for 25 of 26 spills on the Imo River this year, which released nearly 3 000 barrels into the river and other waterways.
Shell produced about 800 000 barrels of oil a day in Nigeria last year.
Militancy in the region has dropped off after a government-sponsored amnesty program in 2009. However, violence, kidnappings and crude oil thefts still occur.
Shell’s Nigeria spills probe ‘a fiasco’
Lagos – Rights group Amnesty International said on Friday investigations into Shell oil spills in Nigeria were a “fiasco”, alleging the company repeatedly blamed sabotage in an effort to avoid responsibility.
“No matter what evidence is presented to Shell about oil spills, they constantly hide behind the ‘sabotage’ excuse and dodge their responsibility for massive pollution that is due to their failure to properly maintain their infrastructure,” Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues at Amnesty, said in a statement.
She said that “the investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta is a fiasco”, referring to the oil-producing region that is home to Africa’s largest crude industry.
The London-based rights group accused the Anglo-Dutch oil major of ignoring evidence that the latest spill in the Delta’s Bodo Creek area, discovered in June, was caused by pipeline corrosion.
Bodo Creek saw two major oil spills in 2008 over which the Anglo-Dutch petroleum giant is being sued in a London court by 11 000 Bodo residents.
An official from Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary told AFP the company was not ready to comment on the latest allegations.
In the statement, Amnesty said it hired the US company Accufacts to examine pictures of the Bodo Creek pipeline over the June spill.
According to Amnesty, the company said it noticed a “layered loss of metal on the outside of the pipe,” which is “a very familiar pattern” consistent with corrosion.
“Shell have said locally that the spill looks like sabotage, and they completely ignore the evidence of corrosion,” said Stevyn Obodoekwe of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, which co-authored the Amnesty statement.
“This has generated a lot of confusion and some anger in the community,” he added.
Sabotage is a worsening problem in the Delta, where oil thieves often blast into pipelines and siphon off crude for sale on the black market.
Some estimates suggest Nigeria loses 150 000 barrels of crude per day to oil theft, known locally as bunkering.
Shell has admitted liability in the 2008 disaster in Bodo, although there remain significant disagreements over the amount of oil that poured into the creeks.
Claims of the amount spilled have ranged from 1 640 barrels to more than 60 times that amount.
Nigeria last month hit Shell with a $5.0bn fine over a December leak at the Bonga oilfield that spilled roughly 40 000 barrels of crude into the Gulf of Guinea.
The company is contesting the fine and has insisted there was no basis for it since it had acted quickly to contain the spill.
A landmark UN report last year set out scientific evidence for the first time of devastating pollution in Ogoniland, part of the Niger Delta and where Bodo is also located.
It said years of pollution may require the world’s biggest ever clean-up, while detailing urgent health risks, especially badly contaminated drinking water.
Shell faced criticism in the report, which said “control and maintenance of oil field infrastructure in Ogoniland has been and remains inadequate …”
Shell says Nigeria spill contained
Lagos – Officials with Royal Dutch Shell PLC say they’ve contained the worst Nigeria offshore oil spill in more than a decade.
Shell officials said on Monday that the Dec 20 spill that saw less than 40 000 barrels of oil pouring into the Atlantic Ocean has been dispersed. Shell officials acknowledged those aboard the Bonga vessel only noticed the spill after seeing it in the morning light, probably hours after it began leaking.
Shell said an investigation into the spill is ongoing.
Production at the field, representing about 10% of Nigeria’s oil output, remains shut in.
Shell operates the field in partnership with Italy’s Eni, Exxon Mobil , France’s Total and the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
‘Oil along Nigerian coast after spill’
Lagos – An environmental group said on Tuesday that an oil slick had approached Nigeria’s coastline after a major Shell spill last week, but the company insisted that its spill had been largely dispersed.
Nigerian group Environmental Rights Action, which closely monitors oil spills in the country, said oil was reported along the shoreline of fishing communities in Bayelsa state as well as Delta state.
The group said it sent monitors out after reports from fishermen. It said it suspected the oil had come from the Shell spill, but the claim could not be independently verified.
“In the course of the visit, spreading slick was sighted close to the coastline of Odioama and along St. Nicholas,” it said in a report that included photos of streaks of what appeared to be oil just off the coastline.
“The footprint comes from the ocean,” the group’s head Nnimmo Bassey told AFP. “We suspect it is from Bonga.”
Shell has said the spill from its offshore Bonga field, which it became aware of on December 20, amounted to less than 40 000 barrels and that it had been “largely dispersed.”
Five vessels and two aircraft had been deployed to spread chemical dispersants.
A Shell spokesperson in Nigeria told AFP that “if there was any more spill found on the coastline, it must have come from a third party”.
“We found a third-party spill and we have told our team on the ground to clean it. If there is still a spill on the shoreline, it is a third-party spill,” Precious Okolobo said.
Bonga, which has a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, is located some 120 kilometres off Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and an OPEC member. Production has halted at the field.
The company said the source of the leak was a flexible line linking a production vessel to a tanker.
It was Nigeria’s worst offshore spill since a 1998 Mobil incident, officials said, though onshore leaks have been estimated at levels far worse since that time in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Environmental group SkyTruth, using satellite imagery from December 21 it published on its website, estimated the slick had been 70km long and 17km wide at its widest.
It said it had covered 923 square kilometres of ocean.