Nov 29, 2011

Ogoni: NOSDRA Fines Oil Company For Oil Spill

NOSDRA has presented SEEPCO with a fine of about N68 million for its failure and refusal to report oil spill.

Below is an article published by Vanguard

National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, has fined Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company, SEEPCO Limited about N68million for oil spill negligence.

The agency said the fine is for the failure, neglect and refusal of SEEPCO to report the oil spill incident that lasted 136 days at its OKW–B location in Okpai-Oluchi community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State, between March 5 and June 21, 2011.

The fine was made public in a statement issued by the Agency and made available to Vanguard in Lagos recently.

The statement signed by the Director General/CEO, NOSDRA, Sir Peter Idabor, and dated October 26, 2011, described the action of the oil firm as a clear violation of section 6(2) of the agency’s Act.

The statement read in part: “An oil spiller is by this Act to report an oil spill to the Agency in writing not later than 24 hours after the occurrence of an oil spill, in default of which the failure to report shall attract a N500,000 penalty for each day of failure to report the occurrence.”

Against this backdrop, NOSDRA said SEEPCO is liable to a penalty in the sum of N68m, which the company must remit to its account within the next 21 days of receipt of its letter, and urged the oil company to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserved.

It would be recalled that the Umu-Ozoma sub-family in Umugbame quarters of Okpai-Oluchi community had petitioned NOSDRA about the oil spill incident, following which the agency and representatives of SEEPCO conducted a Joint Investigation Visit, JIV, on the impacted sites on July 9, 2011.

This is the first time NOSDRA is taking a swift decision on oil spill, as hitherto, decisions on such matters are usually protracted, majority ending in litigations.

Analysts, who commended the swift response, also argued that the agency’s decision might not be unconnected with recent revelations contained in the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, Report on the extent of pollution in Ogoni land, in Rivers State.

Although the report dwelled extensively on oil spill from Shell operations in the area and the extent of damage to both human and the environment, it also chided regulatory agencies, such as NOSDRA for their inability to enforce global best practice for the security and protection of humans and the environment.