How operational errors, sabotage caused 5,575 cases of oil spills in eight months

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says the country recorded 352 incidences of crude oil spills, leading to the loss of 5,575 barrels from January to August.

An oil spill is the release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbons or distilled products into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem.

Data obtained from the agency’s satellite website show that the figure for crude oil spills equates to 886,369 litres, and a monthly average of 697 barrels.

The data, according to NOSDRA, is based on the paper records of joint investigation visits (JIVs), and it is “updated on an ongoing basis”.

NOSDRA said sabotage, equipment failure, corrosion, and operational/maintenance errors were the leading causes of oil leaks in Nigeria in the period examined.

The agency added that oil theft and sabotage resulted in the highest volume of losses — 5,167 barrels of crude — representing 92.73 percent of spills during the period.

This was followed by corrosion, causing 231.62 barrels of oil spills (4.1 percent); unspecified issues (114 barrels or 2.05 percent); equipment failure (32.25 barrels or 0.58 percent); while 27.12 barrels of leaks (0.49 percent) were due to operational or maintenance error.


According to the data, Rivers, Delta, and Edo are the top three states affected by oil spills in the period.

TheCable Index analysis shows that Rivers recorded 2,805 barrels of oil spills in 145 incidents, Delta had 2,652 barrels of oil in 142 occurrences, six cases of leaks in Edo accounted for 70 barrels.

Meanwhile, NOSDRA noted that the facilities of 23 oil companies spilt oil from January to August.

Out of this figure, the facilities of nine firms spilt between 70 and 4,350 barrels of oil, across the eight-month period.

NOSDRA said the organisations are the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Heritage Energy Operational Service Limited, and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

Others are Heirs Holding Oil and Gas (HHOG) Limited, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, National Petroleum Development Company, Total Exploration and Production, ND Western, and Enageed Resources Limited.

According to NOSDRA, there are currently “no legally binding regulatory penalties or fines for oil spills in Nigeria”.

“Currently oil companies are required to fund the clean-up of each spill and usually pay compensation to local communities affected, if the spill was the company’s fault,” the agency said.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) had said the country loses an average of $7.2 million monthly from illegal oil connections.

[Credit: The Cable]

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