Sunday, 2 March 2014
Press Statement: The Bonga Field Incident By National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND)
Members of NACGOND wish to express our collective concern and regret about the latest and very serious incident of oil spillage in the Niger Delta region. We were reliably informed by Shell officials and from media reports about an oil spill incident in the Bonga Field, which occurred on Tuesday, 20th December, 2011.
Shell said in a statement today “an export line from the field’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel was the likely cause of the leak, estimated at less than 40,000 barrels of crude. The oil spill has already been halted”, according to the statement. As far as we know, this spill is the single largest of the year, and equates to as much as the total volume of oil already spilt by Shell this year.
NACGOND calls on the Federal Government to put renewed attention on enforcing the guidelines contained in the EGASPIN framework. . This is another untimely reminder, after the recent UNEP report, of the current failure of Nigeria's regulatory system to prevent and respond to oil spills in the Niger Delta. NACGOND is worried about the current lack of capacity in oil spill response and the Federal Government’s failure to ensure and enforce the highest standards in the petroleum industry. These failings, once again, culminated in huge environmental destruction of coastal and inland biodiversity which rural community livelihoods depend upon. How much more oil pollution is needed for the government to holistically address this environmental crisis? This spill, as we understand, has resulted in the shutting in of 200,000 barrels of oil a day, which is costing the Nigerian state in excess of $20,000,000 a day. The cost of regulatory reform and enforcement of existing standards is grossly minimal, in comparison with the above loss. Brazil recently fined Chevron $28 million for a mere 3,000-barrel offshore spill. This incident will be an important test of the Federal Government’s resolve in enforcing internationally recognised levels of fines for spills of this nature. In addition, we demand for best practice clean up and restoration of the damaged environment.
We call on Shell and other operators to ensure transparency and accountability in the way this and other spills are managed in the region. The impact of this spill must be monitored to ensure that both the environment and livelihoods of the fishers and other local dependent populations are adequately compensated. We insist that routine pipeline and other oil facility integrity check is lacking in the Nigerian oil industry, and must be institutionalized to forestall avoidable oil spills in the eco-fragile Niger Delta. NACGOND will track the response to this spill, and will take this case as a crucial test of NOSDRA’s capacity to fulfil its statutory mandate. We urge both the Federal government, through its regulatory agencies, and the oil companies to recognise the urgent need for a new independent mechanism that would conform to international best practice to prevent, identify, respond to and quickly compensate for oil spills, however they are caused. All parties must work together to minimize and manage oil spills incidents in the Niger Delta. The environment has a critical role to play in the lives, livelihoods and future of this fragile region.
Members of the coalition include
Stakeholder Democracy network (SDN)
Centre for Environment and Human Rights Development (CEHRD)
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP)
Centre for Social and Corporate Responsibility (CSCR)
Ijaw Youth Council (IYC)
Centre for Ethnic and Conflict Studies (CENTECS)
Bayelsa NGOs Forum (BANGOF)
Ijaw National Congress (INC)
Pro Natura International (PNI)
Niger Delta Wetlands Centre (NDWC)
Coordinator - NACGOND For more information: 07033751788 (Inemo) / 08037504608 (Zabbey)
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about NACGOND can also be found at www.stakeholderdemocracy.org