BY OSA OKHOMINA, Yenagoa
Some residents of Ikarama community in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State have lamented the adverse impact of an oil spill from a nearby oilfield, and called for the immediate remediation of oil pollution from the April 7 leak from Shell’s 14-inch Okordia-Rumekpe pipeline which discharged crude into the ecosystem.
The Okordia-Rumemkpe crude trunk line is part of the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and conveys crude to the oil firm’s crude export terminal at Bonny in Rivers.
LEADERSHIP gathered that a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was conducted and the report confirmed that the leak was traced to equipment failure, which emanated from a rupture on the 14-inch crude delivery line.
Residents near the spill impacted site said that they have suffered untold hardship from the pollution of land, air and lakes near the area due to the evaporation of the leaked crude by the scorching sun.
Mr Education Ikiowori, who works at the Ikarama oilfields said the spill was as a result of corrosion. He said that Shell and the regulators had visited and they excavated the place in search of the cause of the spill. “They all saw that the rupture was caused by corrosion, yet Shell disagreed,” he said.
“Normally SPDC when they come even if the spill was caused by corrosion; they would try to influence it in their favour by saying it was caused by third party so as to avoid responsibility to the land owners.
For this one, thank God that it was very obvious that it was equipment failure; as the government representatives and regulators and all who were here confirmed it,” he said.
Chief Washington Odoyibo said that residents have been experiencing the antics of Shell attributing every spill incident to sabotage times without number. “When the spill occurred at this place in November, 2019 during the flood, Shell came here and turned it to sabotage. This pipeline is over 40 years, I was a child when they laid this pipe here, but they refused to replace it and it is failing every now and then,” Odoyibo said.
Contacted on the development, the SPDC’s media relations manager, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, who confirmed the leakage and pledged to issue a statement on the incident and steps taken to mitigate the pollution, but has yet to do so.