Posted by News Express | 3 February 2016 | 3,057 times
The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has denied complicity in the January 20, 20116 fire incident at the oil leak site in Adibawa oil fields operated by the oil firm in Rivers State.
Mr. Ambrose Kofi Osuolo, Secretary, Edagberi Community Development Committee, had alleged that SPDC officials visited the spill site shortly after the fire incident occurred.
According to him, the oil firm had resorted to burning the spilled crude off to ease the recovery procedure and make clean up easier to the detriment of the environment.
Osuolo had claimed: “Shell came here on the 20th of January, 2016 to ascertain the level of recovery job done already; as we hear they are claiming so much has been done.
“As they left the site, roughly 30 minutes after they left; the community noticed smoke rising from this spill impacted environment.
“The community mobilised to the site and tackled the fire. It wasn’t something which only community efforts could contain so, the community called Shell and the company’s fire Service team came and assisted in putting out the inferno.
“So, we are assuming that this fire was the handiwork of Shell because it happened just after they visited the site.
“But in this case, it was the community which called them soon after they left. The incident happened on Wednesday.
“As you know this spill damaged a lot of fish ponds and other resources in the environment. Up till now, nothing has been said about compensating those whose property and livelihood were affected.’’
Osuolo lamented the slow pace of oil recovery following the July 12, 2015 spill incident which had exposed the community to oil pollution for seven months.
However, SPDC in a statement signed by its Spokesperson Mr Joseph Obari denied any involvement in the fire.
According to the statement, “On January 20, 2016, SPDC received reports of a fire at the spill site at the Adibawa well-8, where a spill occurred on July 2015.
“SPDC quickly mobilised its fire response team which was able to extinguish the fire the following day. The fire was not started by SPDC.
“SPDC has been working to conclude recovery of oil from the Adibawa well-8 site since the spill occurred in July last year.
“We deployed booms to contain the spill and commenced recovery of spilled oil shortly after the spill occurred.
“Efforts to conduct a joint investigation to determine the cause have not been successful due to continuous denial of access by the community.
“Regrettably, recovery of the spilled oil has also been disrupted several times by people claiming payments for compensation for the alleged impact of the spill or for ghost workers.
“Despite this, some 90% of the oil has been recovered, and the oil-spill recovery exercise is expected to be completed over the coming weeks.”
Reacting to Shell’s statement, Chief Sunny Jacob Ubele, Paramount ruler of Edagberi community, said that the allegations that the community denied the company access were false.
He said that the community cooperated with officials of the oil firm but expressed reservations when Shell officials attempted to manipulate the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) procedure.
Said the royal father: “It is very untrue that we denied them access, if we did how did they manage to stop the spill? they had fixed a JIV on our meeting day and we told them to fix it for the next day.
“When we got there with them we found out they went to the site unilaterally and tampered with the evidences that would assist in arriving at conclusions, so we told them that we were excluded from that exercise.
“We pointed out to them that what they did constituted a JIV without community and we declined to sign the JIV reports because we were not part of it and the JIV was inconclusive.”
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