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Oil firms spill N711bn crude oil, degrade environment


Oil spillEnvironmental right activists have raised the alarm over the continuous environment degradation as estimation puts total value of oil spilled by operators in the Niger Delta at N711bn.

As of last year, Brent International was sold at an average of $71 per barrel at the international market, bringing total revenue lost by the companies to the menace to about $1.7m or N711bn.

A breakdown of who spilled what showed that while Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, spilled a total of 4097 barrels, Nigerian Agrip Oil Company, NAOC, spilled 1029 barrels. Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, spilled the most in the year under review with 12, 404 barrels, as Heritage spilled 344 barrels.

The Nigerian petroleum Development Company, NPDC, recorded 1142 barrels; Eroton, E&P 4315 barrels; Seplat Energy, 44bbls; Chevron, 11bbls; ERL,  75 barrels; TotalEnergies, 47bbls, as First Energy spilled two barrels.

Also, Platform reported one barrel; Midwestern, 19bbls; Neconde, 23bbls; Aitei E&P, 244bbls; ND West, 71bbls; ESSO, 27bbls; and NewCross E&P, one barrel.

The NOSDRA’s data showed that SPDC reported a total of 147 spills in the year; NAOC ,106 spills; MPN, 30; Heritage, 19; NPDC, 11; Eroton E&P, 11; Seplat, 11; Chevron, 10; ERL, 7; TotalEnergies, 6; First, 4.

Others were: Platform, 4; Midwestern, 3; Neconde, 3; Aiteo E&P, 2; Heirs Holding, 3; ND West, 2; TUPNI, 1; NNPC-NPSC, 1; ESSO, 1; and NewCross E& reported just one spill incident.

On the cause of the spills in the year under review, NOSDRA said the volume of oil spilled as a result of operational issues was more and peaked especially between July and September.

On the other hand oil spilled as a result of oil theft and sabotage was less.


There were around 383 publicly available oil spill records for the period selected, with 33 of these oil spill sites not visited by a Joint Investigation team.

A total of 122 of these had no estimated quantity of oil spilled provided by the company.

Based on reports available, 23,897.271 barrels of oil, translating into 3.776 million litres- that is around 119 full oil tanker trucks -were spilled.

On major oil spills, over 250 barrels were spilled into inland waters, or over 2,500 barrels spilled on land, swamp, shoreline and open sea.

The report said seven medium oil spills, representing between 25-250 barrels, were spilled into inland waters, or 250-2,500 barrels spilled on land, swamp, shoreline and open sea.

A total of 240 minor oil spills of up to 25 barrels were spilled into inland waters, or 250 barrels spilled on land, swamp, shoreline and open sea.

A total of 175 of these were fewer than 10 barrels in size, while 128 oil spills could not be categorised by the agency.

Programme Manager, Environmental Rights Action, ERA Port Harcourt, Ibiaridor Kentebe, faulted widely spread reports that heaped crude oil spills on oil communities.

According to him, most oil spill cases were as a result of operational failures of oil firms.

“The story being told by oil companies that oil spills are the fault of communities is not true. In the first place, oil pipelines have not been maintained in a couple of years. The facilities are obsolete, and we have had continous oil spill cases as a result of equipment failure. So, when the government, NOSDRA and oil companies feel they have they blame the communities, then, they should come out and tell us the truth. For instance, can they  tell us the number of crude oil produced daily? They don’t have those figures. And for them to now say oil theft and vandalism are part of the reasons Nigeria loses revenue is false. What vandalism are they talking about? They have not been able to use their power to deal with oil companies, and have allowed them to get away with those incidences.”

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