Oil Spill Fire suspected to have been started by oil workers engaged by Shell on Sunday gutted a spill site on a Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) oil field in Ayambele and Kalaba communities in Yenagoa Local Government of Bayelsa State.

The spill site, which was being remediated by SPDC, was polluted by an oil spill from Shell’s Okordia Manifold at Ikarama community in June.

A Joint Investigation report on the spill blamed the discharge of 629 barrels of crude into the environment on vandalism.

The report stated that the spill impacted a total area of 3.4 hectares including swamps, farms and built up areas beyond SPDC’s right of way.

Mr Monibo Joel, Youth President of Ayambele community, told our correspondent that the crude oil from the Okordia Manifold spread into Kalaba and Ayambele swamps.

He said that residents of the communities woke up on Sunday to see the strange fire, which continues to burn off the crude deposits on the land and swamps.

He further noted that the clean-up of the June spill incident was underway at the time, prompting the suspicion that the clean-up contractors may have ignited the fire to expedite that process.

When contacted, Precious Okoloba, Media Relations Manager of SPDC, said that the oil firm was yet to get a report on the fire incident, and pledged to investigate the report before making comments.

Reacting to the fire incident Mr Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist and Head of Field Operations at Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, condemned the act of burning spilled crude.

“The Environmental Rights Action has condemned the burning of oil spill impacted sites, it is very crude and unacceptable method of clean-up used by oil companies and their clean-up contractors,” he said.

“We condemn this burning approach because it further degrades the environment, the Ayambele/Kalaba environment is still raging with the fire suspected to be lit by agents of the contractor cleaning  the spill,” Morris added.

 

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