Home > Gulf of Mexico Oil Rocket, Oil spills > Though Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill; the US and Europe ignore it

Though Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill; the US and Europe ignore it

Nigeria on alert as Shell announces worst oil spill in a decade
The oil company says up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled 75 miles off the coast of the Niger delta
by John Vidal, Environment editor
Dec/22/ 2011/08.01 EST

Nigerian coastal and fishing communities were on Thursday put on alert after Shell admitted to an oil spill that is likely to be the worst in the area for a decade, according to government officials..

The company said up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled on Wednesday while it was transferred from a floating oil platform to a tanker 75 miles off the coast of the Niger delta.

All production from the Bonga field, which produces around 200,000 barrels a day, was last night suspended. “Early indications show that less than 40,000 barrels of oil have leaked in total. Spill response procedures have been initiated and emergency control and spill risk procedures are up and running,” said Tony Okonedo, a Shell Nigeria spokesman.

Satellite pictures obtained by independent monitors Skytruth suggested that the spill was 70km-long and was spread over 923 square kilometers (356 sq miles).

But a leading Nigerian human rights group said Shell’s figures about the quantity of oil spilled or the clean-up could not be relied on. “Shell says 40,000 barrels were spilled and production was shut but we do not trust them because past incidents show that the company consistently under-reports the amounts and impacts of its carelessness,” said Nnimmo Bassey, head of Environmental Rights Action, based in Lagos.

“We are alerting fisher folks and coastal communities to be on the look out. It just adds to the list of Shell’s environmental atrocities in the Niger delta.”

The spill, one of the worst off the coast of Nigeria in 10 years, is particularly embarrassing for Shell, coming only four months after a major UN study said it could take Shell and other oil companies 30 years and $1bn to clean spills in Ogoniland, one small part of the oil-rich delta. The company also admitted responsibility in August for two major spills in the Bodo region of the delta that took place in 2008, but has yet to pay compensation.

Shell, which works in partnership with the Nigerian government in the delta, claims that 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants and only a minimal amount by deteriorating infrastructure. But this is disputed by communities.

Yesterday Shell said it had also closed a Gulf of Mexico deep drilling operation after spilling 319 barrels of contaminated fluids. – Source

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster
by John Vidal
5/30/2010

The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades

A ruptured pipeline burns in a Lagos suburb after an explosion in 2008 which killed at least 100 people. Photograph: George Esiri/Reuters

We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. “We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots,” said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. “This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months.”

That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.

In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig last month. – More here

Related news:


Growing Unrest Posing a Threat to Nigerian Oil


From the article “Curse of the Black Gold

Nigeria: U.S.$15.5 Million Shell Compensation Divides Ogoni
Bassey Udo and Rafiu Ajakaye
6/10/2009

Lagos — Shell on Monday night agreed to a $15.5 million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging its complicity in the execution of the Ogoni Nine, among them Ken Saro-Wiwa, playwright and environmental rights activist.

Sani Abacha sent them to the gallows on November 10, 1995 after a mock trial that sparked global outrage, accompanied by international sanctions against Nigeria and top officials of the military junta.

But Some in Ogoni expressed anger at the announcement on Tuesday.

“I am shocked. The entire people of Ogoni are upset. If the report is true, was it only the ‘Ogoni Nine’ that died for the struggle? What happens to others who lost their lives in the fight?” wondered Eddie Wikinna, a member of the Ogoni Contact Group. – More here

Nigeria and Oil
by Anup Shah
7/3/2004

The Niger Delta in Nigeria has been the attention of environmentalists, human rights activists and fair trade advocates around the world. The trial and hanging of environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Ogoni ethnic minority made world-wide attention. So too did the non-violent protests of the Ogoni people. The activities of large oil corporations such as Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Elf, Agip etc have raised many concerns and criticisms.

A series of repressive and corrupt governments in Nigeria have been supported and maintained by western governments and oil corporations, keen on benefiting from the fossil fuels that can be exploited. As people and transnational oil corporations have been fighting over this “dark nectar” in the delta region, immense poverty and environmental destruction have resulted.
Map of Nigeria

The Ogoni, Ijaw and other people in the Niger Delta, those who have been worse affected for decades have been trying to stand up for themselves, their environment and their basic human and economic rights. The Nigerian government and the oil companies have responded by harshly cracking down on protestors [protesters]. Shell, for example, has even been criticized for trying to divide communities by paying off some members to disrupt non-violent protests.

According to Human Rights Watch, “multinational oil companies are complicit in abuses committed by the Nigerian military and police.” – More here

Polluting Nigeria – a picture from a BBC News slide show

Nigeria: U.S.$15.5 Million Shell Compensation Divides Ogoni
Bassey Udo and Rafiu Ajakaye
6/10/2009

Lagos — Shell on Monday night agreed to a $15.5 million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging its complicity in the execution of the Ogoni Nine, among them Ken Saro-Wiwa, playwright and environmental rights activist.

Sani Abacha sent them to the gallows on November 10, 1995 after a mock trial that sparked global outrage, accompanied by international sanctions against Nigeria and top officials of the military junta.

But Some in Ogoni expressed anger at the announcement on Tuesday.

“I am shocked. The entire people of Ogoni are upset. If the report is true, was it only the ‘Ogoni Nine’ that died for the struggle? What happens to others who lost their lives in the fight?” wondered Eddie Wikinna, a member of the Ogoni Contact Group. – More here

Saro-Wiwa’s son welcomes Shell payout
from CNN, 6/9/2009

NEW YORK — A $15.5 million payout made by oil giant Shell to settle a lawsuit brought against it by relations of executed Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and other activists will allow the families of the victims to move on with their lives, Saro-Wiwa’s son has told CNN.

Saro-Wiwa said the settlement would allow the families of the victims to draw a line under the past.

The New York lawsuit brought to court by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Saro-Wiwa’s family and others in 1996 — accused Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary of complicity in the writer’s 1995 hanging and the killings or persecution of other environmental activists in the Niger Delta.

Nigeria’s Ogoni people have complained for years that Shell was allowed to pollute its land without consequences.

Saro-Wiwa’s death sparked a worldwide outcry, and his movement ultimately forced Shell out of the oil- and gas-rich Ogoniland region. – More here

Map from Le Monde, 1999: Oil Producing Regions in Nigeria
(“Note: Ilajeland is adjacent to Itsekiri region” – wandoo.org)

A list and studies of the oil spills in the Niger Delta

Related article: Nigeria and China sign $23bn deal for three refineries

“Kevin Costner’s” oil spill cleaning machine

Post link: http://nigerianoil.tk

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: