Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has confirmed the oil spill alarm sent out by the some groups but said investigations have kicked off.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) had raised alerts on the spill, saying it was spreading.
SPDC reacted soon after confirming spill took place on June 11. The SPDC statement said the joint venture could confirm a spill incident at a facility of the joint venture in Eleme, Rivers State. “We are working closely with a multi-stakeholder Joint Investigation Visit team led by the regulators, Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), in collaboration with Rivers State Ministry of Environment, and community representatives, as the investigation into the cause and impact of the incident progresses.
“Meanwhile, the SPDC Emergency Response and Spill Response teams have been activated, subject to safety requirements, to mobilise to the site to take actions that may be necessary for the safety of environment, people and equipment.
“We will continue to provide updates as new information emerges, and we appreciate the understanding and support of the community at this time.”
MOSOP had claimed that the spill was massive and named the following communities in Ogoni Ogale, Aleto, Agbonchia, Onne, Okpaku, and Alesa, all in Eleme local government area of Rivers State.
The area is covered by Oil Mining License 11 which was shut down by Shell over 20 years ago during community crisis that led to loss of many lives and trial and killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other eight in what today is known as the ‘Ogoni-9’.
No authority had claimed responsibility in the latest spill but MOSOP had said it was from the SPDC facilities. The oil company has confirmed at last.
MOSOP has said SPDC, owners of the pipelines, was yet to stop the spill which they feared would likely affect more communities beyond Ogoni.
Shell has not disclosed cause of the spill pending investigations, but the oil giant has always made it known that they do not drill oil in Ogoni anymore but they have always blamed most fresh spills on what they term third party interference (pipeline breaking, oil theft, etc).
The MOSOP leader said the spills are another testament of sub-standards in operations management in Ogoni.
Shell insists only joint investigation team can determine the size and extent of the spill. It also insists its not drilling oil in Ogoni.