Bayelsa Govt Tasks Oil Companies On Safety, Spills Response

Oil workers and regulators examining pollution at Shell well in Bayelsa. Photo:
Oil workers and regulators examining pollution at Shell well in Bayelsa. Photo:

Determined to prevent disasters occasioned by oil spills and other exploration activities by oil companies, the Bayelsa State government has urged companies operating in the state to comply with the guideline for oil spill response or be sanctioned.

In a letter to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its partners such as Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited, and Shell Petroleum Development Company, the state Commissioner for Environment, Iniruo Wills, stated that the LIVES BEFORE OIL document issued by the government on August 18, which is aimed at safety of lives in oil field operations, should be strictly followed.



    “We request that you and your organization adhere strictly to the sequence contained in the attached guidelines in responding to and managing oil spill and gas leak incidents in or affecting any part of Bayelsa State,” the letter read in part.

    “This is in furtherance of our determination to re-intensify enforcement of globally acceptable environmental and safety standards in all industrial operations in the State, and to ensure that lives are placed in priority before oil.”

    The government released the guidelines following the July 9 explosion at Agip’s oil in Azuzuama that killed 14 people. A week later, there was a huge fire resulting from an oil spill at the same company’s facilities at Okpotuwari-Ondewari area of the state.

    “These are two examples of the fatal threat posed by the oilfield practice and manner of oil spill management prevalent in the State, despite repeated efforts by Government and regulatory authorities to compel improvements,” Wills said.


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