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Shell, Bayelsa host communities still at loggerheads on figures in spill report

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Several months after, feelings of shoddy statistics by locals are still frustrating the adoption of spill pollution report on the spilling of about 1,114 barrels of crude oil leakage from an oilfield operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Aghoro community in Bayelsa.

What is delaying the official release of the report includes claims by the host community that figures in the report appeared to have been largely squeezed to the advantage of SPDC.

The spillage which severely affected both the fishing vocation and social lives of the residents reportedly polluted an estimated area of 113.03 hectares, according to a joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the incident.

The refusal was attributed to wide disparity between the impacted areas claimed by Shell and the community, but Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, the Media Relations Manager at SPDC, said that the grey areas had been sorted out.

The report indicated that only 247.5 out of the 1,114 of SPDC’s crude blend had been recovered at the spill site, while the remaining were yet to be accounted for.

The disagreement among community leaders who participated in Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the oil spill has forced them not to append their signatures, thus stalling all other efforts to close the case.

Key revelation in the spill incident report was that whereas the oil leak was reported on May 17, the joint visit could not be immediately conducted until June 23 and the spill was caused by equipment failure resulting from weak integrity of the 24 inch Trans Ramos Pipeline giving rise to cracks on the pipeline at Aghoro in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa.

However, representatives of the host community, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and SPDC, who conducted the investigation agreed on the findings and signed the report.

Business Hilights gathered that whereas repair work on the leaking pipeline is underway, recovery of spilled oil from the site is still ongoing.

Reacting to the development, Odugbesan expressed regret about incessant spills on the Trans Ramos Pipeline, saying that although the May 17 spill was traced to equipment failure, other leaks were predominantly caused by sabotage.

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