Court fines oil firm N68 million for failure to report spill

Posted by News Express | 11 November 2015 | 3,129 times

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The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) today said it has secured a court judgment ordering an oil firm to pay a fine of N68 million for failure to report an oil spill incident.

According to a statement issued by Mr Henshaw Ogubike, Head of Public Affairs, NOSDRA, on behalf of the Director-General, Dr Peter Idabor, the judgment was delivered by a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta.

NOSDRA had dragged Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Ltd (SEEPCO) for failure to report the oil spill incident at the Okwuibome location (OPL 280) on March 5, 2011.

Ogubike noted that the court presided over by Justice Olatoregun-Ishola held that SEEPCO breached the NOSDRA Act 2006.

He said in the statement: “Delivering the judgment on the case on October 29, 2015, Honourable Justice Olatoregun-Ishola upheld the submissions by the Counsel to NOSDRA.

“The court held that SEEPCO was in breach of Section 6 (2) of the Agency’s Act when it failed to report in writing the oil spill incident at OKWC and that the agency had the powers under its enabling Act to impose the fine of N68 million.

“It would be recalled that NOSDRA commenced the legal action against SEEPCO on February 17, 2012.

“NOSDRA sought amongst others, a declaration that the defendant was in direct breach of Section 6 (2) of the Plaintiff’s enabling Act when it failed to report in writing the oil spill incident of March, 2011 at the Okwuibome location.”

The statement noted that the judgment was a boost to NOSDRA’s efforts to ensure compliance with all existing environmental legislation and detection of oil spills in the industry.

It said said that the $3.6 billion fine slammed on Shell is before the courts as the impacted victims were seeking legal action to compel the oil firm to pay the fine and compensate them.

The House of Representatives and NOSDRA in December 2014 recommended payment of $3.6 billion as compensation to victims of the incident.

The spill from an offshore field operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) discharged 40,000 barrels of crude that polluted the Atlantic.

•Photo shows NOSDRA Director-General, Dr Peter Idabor.

Source: News Express

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