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Nigeria’s Producers Are Generally Non-Compliant with Oil Spill Regulations, Data Shows

By Bunmi Christiana Aduloju

NAREP Fellow

Since oil was first discovered in Oloibiri, in Nigeria’s Bayelsa State in 1956, communities hosting the hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Niger Delta have had to put up with devastating oil spills. Biodiversity has suffered from harm done to it by the continual flowing oil in the region.  

An integral part of oil spill clean-up and remediation is oil stoppage. This practice aims to close off oil spills as early as possible. The faster the response to oil spills, the likelier the cushioning of its effects and so ideally, the journey to oil spill clean-up should begin in twenty-four (24) hours. 

In Nigeria, under the law, oil spills must be stopped by thefacility operators within 24 hours of being notified of the oil spill, whether the spill was caused by the company’s activities or third-party action. In other words, it is the duty of facility operators to ensure that oil flow is closed off as soon as it is detected. 

NEGLIGENCE 

However, there are shortfalls in the discontinuation of oil spills at the appropriate time by oil companies, according to data obtained from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Federal Government oil spill monitoring agency in Nigeria.

An Africa Oil+Gas Report analysis of data obtained from NOSDRA, indicate that a total of 494 oil spill incidents occurred from January 2020 till May 2021.

A further analysis of the time between oil spill incidence and the oil spill stop showed that in 2020 alone, there were about 373 incidents of oil spill.

At the time of filing this report, from January 2020 till May 2021, oil companies failed to stop oil spill within 24 hours of the incident in 110 cases and in 133 cases, oil companies stopped oil spill within 24 hours. In 251 cases, due to missing data in NOSDRA’s dataset, it was not specified when the oil spill was closed off. 

Within this timeframe, a total of 26178.34 barrels of oil was spilled by 26 oil companies.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was the highest offender within this period. In 80 cases, it failed to stop oil spill within 24 hours and in 82 cases it stopped oil spill in 24 hours. Also, SPDC tops the list with the longest response time to oil spill during this period. It stopped an oil spill after 185 days in an incident that occurred due to sabotage at the 28” Bomu-Bonny Trunckline at Alaskiri, Rivers State on the 28th of January, 2020. The oil spill was stopped on the 31st of July, 2020. The impact of the spill was labelled, “Non-leaking and no impact on the environment.”

However, criss-crossing NOSDRA’s data with SPDC’s oil spill report showed that the company did not report this incident in its January 2020 report

In another occurrence, on the 23rd of March 2021, which is the second slowest response to oil spill stoppage in the analysed period of January 2020 to May 2021, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) responded to an oil spill in 20days. The oil spill was caused by corrosion and it affected 3” Imo River Well63T at the Owaza community, Etche Local Government, Rivers State. The impact was labelled, “Dripped of crude oil within right of way.” It was stopped on the 12th of April, 2020. However, in SPDC’s March 2021 oil spill report, this incident was recorded to have occurred on the 24th of March, 2021. Additional information by SPDC on the oil spill event attributed the delay to “security concerns.”

The third slowest response to oil spill stop, brought off by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), was 16 days, according to NOSDRA. The incident was caused by sabotage at the 16” Tuomo Ogbainbiri Delivery Gas Line at Ayamasa, at EkeremorLocal Government, Bayelsa and the impact was labelled, “Gaseous Emission (Condensate).”

The oil companies who complied fully with the oil spill stoppage timeline of 24 hours from January 2020 till May 2021 are KAMLIK Nigeria Limited, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), PPMC (NPSC) and TOTALUpstream Nigeria (TUPNI), according to NOSDRA’s data. 

The companies with missing data during this period are Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited (MPN), National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Heritage Energy Operational Service Limited, Enageed Resources Limited, Platform Petroleum Limited, Infravision Ltd Company, Esso Exploration and Production and Production Nigeria Limited, First Hydrocarbon Nigeria, ND Western, Midwestern Oil & Gas Corporation, Neconde and Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited (POOCN). 

CLEANING-UP OIL

Out of the 494 incidents of oil spill recorded from January 2020 till May 2021 by NOSDRA, oil spill clean-up data was recorded scantily for only 40 incidents. First Hydrocarbon Nigeria started cleaning an oil spill after 13 months and 10 days, accounting for the longest response time in the 40 incidents recorded. The incident, caused by sabotage, happened at Isoko-North, Delta State at the NPDC OGINI – Eriemu 10” Delivery Line at Eniagbedhi Owhe on the 23rd of February, 2021. It started cleaning the oil spill on the 10th of March, 2021 and ended the clean-up process on the 22nd of April, 2021. 

The fastest clean up response was carried out by NAOC from January 2020 till May 2021. On three occasions, on the 9th of January, 2020, 11th of January, 2020 and the 30th of January, 2020 at the Ebocha 9l Flowline at Mgbede, Rivers State and the 10” Clough Creek/Tebidaba Pipeline at Gbaraun, Bayelsa State, oil spill clean-up was achieved in 24 hours.

SHELL AND ENI

In 2018, Amnesty International, an international human rights organisation, published a report that accused Shell and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), subsidiaries of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and ENI respectively, of being negligent with oil spill clean-up. Long delays in conducting the Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) to ascertain the extent of damage of the oil spill to the environment, slow response to shutting off the flow of oil, and contradicting evidence pointing to their activities instead of recorded oil spill caused by “third party interference”, are some of the issues raised by the international NGO. 

The 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland reiterated that, “Any delay in cleaning up an oil spill will lead to oil being washed away by rainwater, traversing communities and farmland and almost always ending up in the creeks.” 

As with Ogoniland, in Nigeria, communities are at the receiving end of oil spills. Even when Shell Petroleum Development Company, in keeping with the polluter-pays principle, accepted liability for the clean-up of Ogoniland 11 years after the oil spill, the UNEP study revealed that cleaning up Ogoniland could take about 30 years. 

OIL SPILL COMPENSATION

According to NOSDRA, sabotage and theft is the highest cause of oil spill in oil producing states. 

Consequently, if an oil spill is not caused by the company’s activities, compensation would not be paid to the affected communities. Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN), a watchdog organisation, in one of its publications titled, International Compensation Systems for Oil Spills in Relation to Reform in Nigeriastated that the compensation structure for oil spill in Nigeria doesn’t measure up to international standards, as they come with “highly variable rates of compensation and high legal costs.”

Also, it stated that because oil spills instigated by third parties are not compensated in Nigeria, “many communities are blighted by the illegal actions of the few.”

This story was produced under the NAREP Media Oil and Gas 2021 Fellowship of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism. Aduloju is a reporter with Africa Oil+Gas Report.


DPR Demands $109Million From Oil Companies For 11Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

The Department of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria’s hydrocarbon industry regulatory agency, has presented an invoice of $109.45 Million to the country’s active oil and gas companies, for 1 Million vials of Astra Zeneca COVID 19 Vaccine (X 11 Doses).

The cost is calculated at the rate of   $109.45/Vial (to the sum of One Hundred and Nine Million, Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand US dollars only – $109,450,000),which is also in line with the manufacturer’s minimum order requirement at the offered price”, the agency says in a letter to the oil companies.

The DPR “has secured firm orders for the procurement of the said vaccines from Astra Zeneca’s approved Manufacturer”, it says, “following engagements with the industry on the subject”.

1 Million vials mean 11 Million doses, almost triple the 4Million doses delivered from COVAX to the country, which are currently being administered throughout the country. (COVAX is a coalition co-led by by Gavi( an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries) CEPI( the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (​CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

DPR has “engaged Vacipharm Limited (and Vaccidel Consortium) for the procurement of the vaccines and the provision of cold chain logistics for delivery and administration to the last mile”, the agency explains in the correspondence, sighted by Africa Oil+Gas Report. DPR explains that “Vacipharm is a leading indigenous pharmaceutical company in the procurement and distribution of cold chain pharmaceuticals in Nigeria within the past 22 years”. The agency’s move to request the industry to foot the bill for such a large number of vaccines is derived from the fact that the “Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry is the mainstay of the nation’s economy, accounting for a significant part of Government revenues and foreign exchange earnings as well as providing the necessary leverage for other sectors of the economy”, it says in the letter. Primarily, the agency explains, “it is vital to safeguard the petroleum sector from the rampaging coronavirus (COVID-19)”. And “considering the industry disposition”.

The DPR has established “about Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand (2.5Million) individuals (requiring 2 doses each) would need to be vaccinated comprising personnel of operators, service providers, contractors and allied participants who work/render services across the value chain, as well as their dependants. This number will be streamlined for phased administration of the vaccines commencing with the most vulnerable workers in ‘high-risk, high-impact’ front-line operational areas”.

Furthermore, the DPR argues, as a socially responsible industry, “the Department proposes to use this industry platform to donate vaccines to cover an additional 2.5Million individuals; based on ‘one-for-one’ approach, that is, vaccinating one member of host communities for every one individual in the industry. The industry inoculation campaign will leverage existing structures employed by industry operators to ensure seamless implementation of the Operational Area Communities COVID-19 Vaccine Support Scheme (OACCVSS)”. In all, “a total of Ten (10) Million doses of vaccines would be required for the industry and to support the communities where we operate”.

 

 


TOTAL & Partner to Plant A Forest in the Heart of the Congo

French major TOTAL has signed a partnership deal with Forêt Ressources Management have signed a partnership agreement with the Republic of the Congo to plant a 40,000-hectare forest on the Batéké Plateaux.

The new forest will create a carbon sink that will sequester more than 10Million tons of CO2 over 20 years, TOTAL says in a statement.

The Batéké Plateaux is a volcanic area, located around the border between the Republic of Congo and Gabon, in the Congo Basin. It hosts the source of several of the region’s signature rivers, including the Njari River in Congo and the Ogooue, Mpassa, Ndjoumou, Lekabi and Lekey Rivers, all  of which flow in Gabon.

The CO2 sequestration is to be certified in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) standards, TOTAL explains. The project, financed by TOTAL, includes agroforestery practices developed with the local communities for agricultural production and sustainable wood energy. By 2040, responsible management through selective cutting will promote the natural regeneration of local species and provide Brazzaville and Kinshasa with lumber and plywood.

“With this, TOTAL is committing to the development of natural carbon sinks in Africa”, declares Nicolas Terraz, the company’s Senior Vice President Africa, Exploration & Production. “These activities build on the priority initiatives taken by the Group to avoid and reduce emissions, in line with its ambition to get to net zero by 2050. They will also help to showcase the Congo’s natural potential and to extend our long-term partnership with the country, where we have been present for fifty years. “

The project is designed to produce multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. The planting of Acacia mangium and auriculiformis trees on sandy plateaux exposed to recurring bushfires will create a forest environment that will ultimately help broaden the ecosystems’ biodiversity. The project will create employment opportunities, with a positive impact on several thousand people. In addition, a local development fund will support health, nutritional and educational initiatives to benefit neighboring villages.

“This ambitious and exemplary project is part of PRONAR, the national afforestation/reforestation program launched in 2011 to expand the country’s forest cover and increase carbon storage capacity, create new wood-based businesses to diversify the national economy, and foster the emergence of a green economy in the Republic of the Congo,” explains Rosalie Matondo, Minister of the Forest Economy of the Republic of the Congo.

 


TOTAL Publishes Third Party Reviews of its ESIA on the Ugandan Basinwide Field Development

French major TOTAL has published the studies, independent third-party reviews and social and environmental action plans related to the Tilenga project in Uganda and the EACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline) project in Uganda and Tanzania.

These documents are available here.

“These projects are undertaken in a sensitive environmental context and require the implementation of land acquisition programmemes with a specific attention to respecting the rights of the communities concerned”, TOTAL says in a statement.

“Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) studies have been conducted and approved by the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities for both projects, which are carried out in compliance with the stringent performance standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Moreover, several independent reviews have been conducted by third-party organizations to ensure that the projects are implemented in compliance with social and environmental best practices. These reviews also allow to assess the effectiveness of the actions undertaken, to identify areas of improvement and have resulted in related action plans.

TOTAL says that in line with the “Avoid – Reduce – Compensate” principles that underpin its Biodiversity Policy published in 2020, it has decided to voluntarily limit the Tilenga project’s footprint within Uganda’s Murchison Falls park. “While the current permits cover nearly 10% of the park, the development will be restricted to an area representing less than 1% of its surface, and the undeveloped areas will be voluntarily relinquished without delay”, the statement explains. “In addition, the project has been designed to minimize the footprint of the temporary and permanent facilities, which will occupy less than 0.05% of the park’s area”.

The Group also confirms its commitment to implement action plans designed to produce a net positive impact on biodiversity in the development of these projects. These plans will be defined in close cooperation with the authorities and stakeholders in charge of nature conservation in Uganda and Tanzania. “Accordingly, TOTAL will provide its support to increase by 50% the number of rangers ensuring the preservation of Murchison Falls park and will support a programmeme to reintroduce the black rhinoceros in Uganda, in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)”, the major says. “TOTAL is also working closely with IUCN experts to integrate the best practices for the protection of chimpanzees, particularly by promoting the conservation of forest habitats”.

The Tilenga and EACOP projects require the acquisition of 6,400 hectares of land, on which the primary residences of 723 households are located. Each of these households will be given the choice between a new house or monetary compensation. “The first 29 relocated households, residing on the Tilenga Central Processing Facility site, have all elected to receive a new house. The other land acquisition activities will be carried out in accordance with the compensation framework approved by the authorities.

We acknowledge that Tilenga and EACOP projects represent significant social and environmental stakes, which we are taking into consideration responsibly. We are mobilizing substantial resources to ensure that these projects are carried out in an exemplary manner and create value for the people in both countries. In view of the questions raised by stakeholders, the commitment of Total is to answer to all questions and to ensure complete transparency on the studies conducted by Total and independent third parties and the actions taken as a result”, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TOTAL.

 

 


Ororo-1 Well Fire Rages On

Fire is still raging on the Ororo-1 well, in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95, eight full months after a blowout occurred on the Hydraulic Work over rig Grace-1 HWU.

The rig was involved in re-entry operations on the well, located in shallow water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95.

Although the company that engaged the services of the owners of Grace-1 HWU was Guarantee Petroleum, a Nigerian E&P independent, the Nigerian government, having revoked the rights of the company to the field, took ownership of controlling the well fire.

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), last May, told Africa Oil+Gas Report it would do all it could to extinguish the fire, including possibly drilling a relief well and engaging Boots & Coots Services, a Halliburton owned firm of well control specialists, to put out the fire.

Grace-1 HWU, a Hydraulic workover rig reportedly owned by Joeny Holdings, was contracted by Guarantee Petroleum, for the job of re-entry and completion.

Ororo Fire, in May 2020

The operations experienced a sudden rush of hydrocarbon fluids speeding up from over pressured reservoirs at depths deeper than 8,500 feet to the surface and forcing a blowout. The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) for the main well bore and the BOP for the annulus (the space between the pipe and the skin of the well), both failed. The reservoir pressure was 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and above, surface pressure was about 4,600psi as of the time of incident, according to field data.

It’s a widely held view, by a range of technical specialists in the industry, that such a highly pressured well should not have been re-entered with a workover rig which has less than adequate BOP. Competency. Some argue that there should have been a sidetrack and not a re-entry, but if there had to be a re-entry, it should have been done with a rig with at least 2,000 horsepower BOP. Indeed, Chevron had plugged the well with a steel plug during abandonment in 1982, because of the pressure challenges.

What is uncertain is why the fire has been left for so long, with clear environmental consequences.
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Wentworth Reports Security Challenges Around Moza Discovery

The Norwegian explorer Wentworth Resources, has reported “above ground security situation in and around the Macimboa da Praia and Palma regions”, onshore Mozambique. The area is adjacent to the Tembo block on which Wentworth made a gas discovery well, Tembo-1, in December 2014.

The company says that the situation “remains challenging” and has “prevented safe access to the area for Wentworth staff and contractors”.  Wentworth says it “continues to monitor the challenge closely”.

The report was primarily about a one year extension granted on the Tembo licence by the Instituto Nacional de Petroleo (“INP”), the country’s petroleum industry regulator. That extension takes effect from 16 June 2018 “and enables Wentworth, along with its partner Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), to continue to progress pre-drilling activities in the Tembo block”.

But part of the reason for requesting for extension was because security issues had made it difficult for an optimum work programme to be delivered in a timeous fashion. Last April three women and three children escaped from a hideout of the armed groups that have attacked villages in the area, located in the northern part of Cabo Delgado province. They were taken in by the police. There have been infrequent attacks in the Macimboa da Praia district since October 2017, when two gangs of men attacked three police stations. At least two police officers and four other elements of the security forces were killed, as well as an unknown number of attackers.

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