Press Statement: The Bonga Field Incident By National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND)

By Inemo Samiama

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)

Inemo Samiama
Coordinator - NACGOND 
For more information: 07033751788 (Inemo) / 08037504608 (Zabbey) /
More information about NACGOND can also be found at


6 comment(s)
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Bonga Spill

Many communities in the Niger Delta are already affected by the fallout from the Bonga spill. People in Ogulagha, Odioma and many other communities are lamenting the destruction of the their environment and the fact that their livelihood is being affected. Do not forget that the majority of the people in these communities depend on fishing to survive.

Don't get it wrong, I am not

Don't get it wrong, I am not in support of spillage and I am also not against the oil companies paying fines to the government. Of course they should and Shell will pay fine in this case. I know this for sure with the DPR.

My concern about the article is that the writer seemed to indicate the Bonga field as if it is located next to some niger-delta communities. This is my point. Bonga field is located in 120km from the nearest shoreline and in water depth of 1300m. How many niger-delta fishermen go that deep into the sea?

As of today, I got information that Bonga production was stopped as at that day and the spill had already been contained by Shell with the DPR and NIMASA being part of the contingency action. However, it still will not stop Shell from paying fines!

I don't think the flaw is as

I don't think the flaw is as serious as you're painting it. Bonga field is not as far as Macondo field (in GOM USA) or Frade field (Brazil) to the shore. The oil companies paid heavily for the spill e.g BP committed to the tune of $20Bn to claims and restoration of the environment in the USA while Brazil is currently suing Chevron ~ $11Bn (in addition to the earlier $28 Mn) for the recent Frade field spill.

The important thing here is that this foreign operators should not be damage the environment while paying peanuts in fines.

If its not the ppl of the

If its not the ppl of the niger delta who are going to be affected by the oil spill is it the humans in lake chad who will suffer because of the bonga oil field spill. This is how you mislead ppl with your limited knowledge on oil spills in the south south. Do oil leaks remain stationary on the water?

There is a serious flaw in

There is a serious flaw in this write-up. One of the writer's conclusion is that the Bonga field is located in the Niger delta where you have inhabitants in the community fishing and doing other things around the area.

This is not true as the Bonga field is located in deep offshore water of Nigeria. The field is located at a distance of more than 100km from the nearest shoreline.

Activists (or environmentalist) should seek for deep knowledge before putting up an article like this. Otherwise, misinformation could cause dissents that is uncalled for.

Avoid compromise in this matter.

All oil company in Nigeria knows the working of Nigerian system. Look at what is happening in Akwa ibom over similar issues. Shell knows government is currupt, the regulatory authority is currupt turning their eye the other way when standard is compromised. Sign of a failed state. Shell would throw a few millions on ground watching you slaughter your selves. That will be tragic. God help us .amen

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