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Shell MD Blames Operational Failure For Ogoni Spills

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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WARRI, August 07, (THEWILL) – The Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu weekend said the two oil spills in the Bodo Community in Ogoniland in Rivers State, which it accepted responsibility for occurred as a result of operational failure.

The spills occurred in 2008.
A United Nations report last week criticized Shell and the federal government for contributing to the pollution of the Niger Delta saying it could cost an initial $1 billion U.S dollars to clean up and almost 30 years, making it the world’s biggest clean up ever.

The United National Environment Programme (UNEP) analysed the damage oil pollution has done in Ogoniland and the oil rich Niger Delta region.

Sunmonu in his first formal reaction after a Shell claimed responsibility for the spills and agreed to pay several millions of dollars in compensation in a London court late last week blamed most of the oil spills in the Niger Delta on illegal activities but assured that Shell remained committed to ‘cleaning up the spills and restoring the surrounding lands.’

He added that government must rise up to the challenge to stop illegal refining of crude in the Niger Delta.

In a statement obtained by THEWILL, the Managing Director blamed the media over what he called ‘inaccurate reporting’ in the two spills which he said resulted in about 4, 000 (four thousand) barrels of oil.

The statement reads, “Oil spills in the Niger-Delta are a tragedy, and The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) takes them very seriously. That is why we have always accepted responsibility for paying compensation when they occur as a result of operational failure.

“SPDC has always acknowledged that the two spills in the Bodo area (Ogoni-land) in 2008, which are the focus of extensive media reports today, were caused by such operational failure. Even when, as is true in the great majority of cases, spills are caused by illegal activity such as sabotage or theft, we are also committed to cleaning up spilt oil and restoring the surrounding land.

“It is regrettable that any oil is spilt anywhere, but it is wildly inaccurate to suggest that those two spills represent anything like the scale which some reports refer to.

“It is unfortunate that inaccurate reporting has created the impression that SPDC in particular and oil companies in general are responsible for all oil spills in Nigeria. The two spills at issue here resulted in around 4,000 barrels of oil being spilt. It is regrettable that any oil is spilt anywhere, but it is wildly inaccurate to suggest that those two spills represent anything like the scale which some reports refer to. Equally, speculation by the plaintiffs' lawyers as to the level of compensation which may be payable is misguided and massively in excess of the true position.

“Concerted effort is needed on the part of the Nigerian government (which itself owns a majority interest in the assets operated by SPDC under a joint operating agreement with the NNPC), working with oil companies and others, to end the blight of illegal refining and oil theft in the Niger Delta, both of which perpetuate poverty. This is the major cause of the environmental damage which media reports have so graphically illustrated.”