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Agip, Shell discredit Bayelsa Pollution Report, dismiss claims of liability – From Stephen Okorie/Yenagoa

Bayelsa oil spill

Major oil firms operating oilfields in Bayelsa state, have dismissed and faulted claims by the Bayelsa Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC), in its final report presented to Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri, at House of Lords, London on Tuesday.

While Agip took a swipe at the Commission for excluding the oil firms, it questioned the commission’s credibility and said it lacked ‘institutional character’, Shell insisted the pollutions were largely traced to sabotage and oil theft.

The report titled: “An Environmental Genocide: Counting the Human Cost of Oil in Bayelsa, Nigeria,” captured over 60 years of oil exploration and pollution.

The BSOEC, established in March 2019 by the immediate past administration led by Senator Seriake Dickson, said abnormally high concentrations of toxic heavy metals were found in soil, waters in Bayelsa oil communities.

The report, which attributed the massive pollution to activities of oil and gas exploration and production by oil firms recommended a remediation fund of $12bn over a 12-year period.

Shell, Agip and Chevron operate oilfields in the areas covered by the report.

Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in a statement by management of its parent company, Eni distanced itself from the allegations of being behind pollution across its assets in Bayelsa.

“We do not attribute any value to a report for which we have not been consulted, and made by a commission that, despite its name, does not have any institutional character.

“In Nigeria, over the last 10 years, almost the whole of hydrocarbon spills is due to so-called “third-party interference”, which specifically means oil thefts to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotages. 

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“The company undertakes to remedy in all cases, both when spills are both operational and due to theft or sabotage. The trend of spills in the region decreased over the last few years also thanks to the important interventions carried out by Eni to guarantee the asset integrity, among other things,” Eni stated.

The company said that about 97 percent of associated gas produced by NAOC is processed either as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or to feed local power plants.

It said that gas from NAOC feeds Okpai power plant, included in the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM).

Eni said its gas gathering effort is noted for its contribution to the reduction of flaring. 

“Okpai produced approximately 2,000 GWh electricity in 2022, so providing to represent an important access to energy instrument for local communities.

“Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis. There is nothing further from our corporate culture than allegation of environmental racism,” Eni stated.

Reacting to the alleged complicity and responsibility for the widespread pollution, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) on Wednesday said it operates in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Mrs. Bola Essien-Nelson, SPDC’s Media Relations Manager, attributed the majority of the pollutions within its operations to vandalism and oil theft.

“SPDC operates to the same technical standards as other Shell companies globally. Illegal actions by third parties cause the vast majority of oil spills in the Niger Delta, such as crude oil theft and sabotage. 

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“However, regardless of the cause, the joint venture responds quickly to clean up when spills originate from its facilities.

“Our teams continue to collaborate with the Nigerian government and other stakeholders with the aim of eradicating crude theft from our facilities.

“We try to stop criminal actions happening in the first place, putting steel cages around some well heads, and using helicopters to monitor for attacks on pipelines.

“Shell companies in Nigeria also bring jobs, support local supply chains and invest in the education and healthcare people rely on, as well as providing billions of dollars in income to the Nigerian government.” SPDC stated.

Chevron Nigeria Limited declined comments.



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