Spill prevention and response
Regrettably, 90% of the number of oil spills of more than 100 kilograms in 2016 from SPDC JV facilities in the Niger Delta were caused by theft and sabotage. SPDC works with government agencies, NGOs and communities to prevent and minimise spills from illegal activity. These include air and ground surveillance, awareness campaigns and alternative livelihood programmes.
In 2015, SPDC, on behalf of the SPDC JV, and the Bodo community signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) granting SPDC access to begin the clean-up of areas affected by two operational spills in 2008. The MOU also provided for the selection of two contractors to conduct the clean-up and to be overseen by an independent project director.
Contractors for the first phase of the clean-up were sent to the location in September 2015, and they trained 400 Bodo youths in clean-up techniques. Unfortunately, the contractors were subsequently denied access by the community in late September 2015. In 2016, discussions continued with the Bodo community under the Bodo Mediation Initiative to allow contractors to proceed with the clean-up but no resolution had been achieved by the end of December 2016. SPDC remains committed to the clean-up of identified areas of Bodo when access is granted.
Clean-up programme in Ogoniland
In August 2016, Nigeria’s President Buhari accelerated the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland with the inauguration of two governance bodies to oversee the clean-up process. The SPDC JV is represented on both bodies and will continue to actively support the process within the framework established by the federal government.
Since 2011, SPDC has taken action on all recommendations in the UNEP report that were specifically addressed to it as operator of the SPDC JV, and has completed the majority of these recommendations. SPDC has re-assessed the 15 SPDC JV sites mentioned by UNEP. When further remediation was required because of acts of vandalism and oil theft, those sites have been remediated and certified by government regulators. SPDC has completed a review of its oil spill response and remediation techniques, and made several improvements in line with industry practices.
SPDC has worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2012 to improve remediation techniques and protect biodiversity at sites affected by oil spills in the Niger Delta.
The UNEP Report also recommended coordinated action by all parties to achieve a sustainable clean-up and to prevent further pollution from crude oil theft and illegal refining. SPDC is working on alternative livelihood programmes, including training in Ogoniland as part of Shell’s youth entrepreneurship programme, Shell LiveWIRE.
SPDC remains fully committed to supporting the Nigerian government in the clean-up of Ogoniland.
Spills and response data
Oil spills due to crude oil theft and sabotage of facilities, as well as illegal refining, cause most of the environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta. Irrespective of cause, the SPDC JV cleans and remediates areas affected by spills originating from its facilities.
Theft of the SPDC JV’s crude oil from the pipeline network amounted to around 5.6 thousand barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2016. This reduction from 25 thousand bpd in the previous year is partly due to continued air and ground surveillance and antitheft mechanisms on equipment. Since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 880 illegal theft points.
The number of operational spills from Shell companies in Nigeria fell from16 in 2015 to seven in 2016. The volume of oil spilled in operational incidents remained at 0.2 thousand tonnes. This includes one spill of 0.15 thousand tonnes caused by unintentional third-party damage to a SPDC JV pipeline.
The number of sabotage-related spills in 2016 decreased to 45 from 93 in 2015. This was despite a resurgence in attacks on oil and gas facilities in parts of the Niger Delta. Theft and sabotage caused 90% of spills of more than 100 kilograms from SPDC JV pipelines.
At the start of 2016, there were 270 sites identified for remediation and certification, of which 92 have been remediated and certified, with 31 in Ogoniland (representing a net reduction of 22% in remediation sites in that area during 2016). During 2016, 73 new sites requiring remediation were identified, of which nine were in Ogoniland. In total, there are 251 oil spill sites that require remediation.