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Shell’s Seibou well oil spill in Bayelsa traced to equipment failure

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By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The crude oil spill from Seibou well in Bayelsa State operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has been traced to a ruptured pipeline.

A Joint Investigation Visit, JIV, report on the incident indicated that some 549 barrels of crude oil were discharged into Ogboinbiri River in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and impacted several communities.

A visual assessment of the underwater six-inch crude flow line by all the parties in the JIV team showed that the pipeline failed due to corrosion.

The JIV report obtained yesterday, indicated that the visit was concluded on March 13, 2015.

Shell had, in a statement last week, said that the leakage was reported on January 23, and subsequently shut the facility afterwards when it became safe to do so.

The JIV team comprised Bayelsa Commissioners for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, Agriculture, Mr Thomas Commander, officials of SPDC and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA.

The group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, a non-governmental organisation and members of impacted communities were also part of the investigative visit.

Oil workers were deployed at the Seibou well head location in the channels of Ogboinbiri River to excavate the pipeline for inspection to unravel the cause of the spill.

Shell’s oil spill response team had used booms to cordon off the canal to ensure that any residual oil leak was trapped and recovered.

Speaking during the joint visit, Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Wills, noted that the state government had resolved to overhaul the entire spills and pollution response process.

“We have noted that the Joint Investigation procedure had not achieved the desired result and we are resolved to follow up the entire process in details, out technical staff have been so directed to be fully involved.

“Also, we have taken steps to make the JIV process very transparent and integrate all the relevant stakeholders just to ensure that every party is represented,” he said.


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