Philippine Sea

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nigeria: "Major" Pipeline blown up



A major oil pipeline, belonging to Shell Oil, has been blown up in the Niger Delta, it is reported here:
The Nigerian military has confirmed that a major pipeline in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta has been blown up.

But it denied a militant claim that it had lost 11 troops during the attack.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) group said in an email that it had attacked the Royal Dutch Shell pipeline in Rivers State.

The militants, who want a greater share of oil revenues for the area, said they blew up a flow station and were retreating when soldiers opened fire.

A Shell spokesman told the AFP news agency the militants had hit the main pipeline in the area and the company had to stop the flow in order to contain the spill.
UPDATE: Received an email from Kai Hasson, Coordinator, Online Outreach
CURRENT TV, LLC with a link to the following video featuring Mariana van Zeller and her cameraman as they tour the Niger delta. It is a remarkable report which should leave you wondering where, in fact, the billions of oil revenue dollars generated by the Nigerian oil fields have gone. Many questions are unanswered, too, such as who owns the oil fields (I'm thinking the Nigerian government) and what social construct would create such indifference to the waste of a valuable natural resource. Before you condemn the oil companies for their role, consider what role we want international business playing in local politics. Further, listen to the "militant" comments. They are interested in getting a "share" of the oil wealth - what would be the likely outcome for the peoples of the Niger delta if the rebels succeed?

Several years ago, in responding to a radio talk show in which the drilling in Alaska National Wildlife Refuge was being opposed on, among other grounds, the risk of pollution to the Alaska area, I told the hosts that they were incredibly naive if they believed that all world oil production was done with the care taken by the U.S. domestic oil producers. In their NIMBY world that seemed to be irrelevant.

Yes, I was an oil company guy. I can tell you that the waste of crude oil seen in the piece is not a business practice that any company that makes money by capturing and selling as much crude oil as possible would allow or condone absent other circumstances. It would be nice to have a follow on piece of Ms. van Zeller meeting with some oil company representatives...

In the meantime, my hat is off to Ms. van Zeller and her cameraman and I thank Kai Hasson for pointing this piece out.

UPDATE2: From the Shell Nigeria website regarding oil spills (2006):
In 2006, we recorded 241 oil spill incidents in Shell Nigeria, compared to 224 incidents in 2005. Of this number, sabotage accounted for 165 (69 per cent), while 50 (20 per cent) were controllable incidents (resulting from equipment failure, corrosion or human error). The remaining 26 incidents are yet to be classified or quantified due to access restrictions either by communities or the current insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Oil spills resulting from sabotage continued to be a challenge, with most incidents along our major pipelines and manifolds. Attacks by armed militant groups on some of our major pipelines and facilities in our western operations also led to spills. As in previous years, some communities denied access to spill sites, restricting our ability to respond and clean up spills in good time.

We estimate that there was a significant increase in the total volume of oil spilled in 2006. Two incidents – leaks at the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) at Krakrama (estimated to be 7,000 barrels) and the Nembe-IV (estimated to be 2,500 barrels) – contributed significantly to the volume of controllable spills. The Krakrama spill resulted from accidental damage to the line by a contractor laying a new pipeline along the existing right-of-way. The other spill was due to corrosion. Due to lack of comprehensive documentary evidence and the security situation that greatly limited access to affected areas, we have not published our total spills volume estimate.
***
In 2006, we recorded 241 oil spill incidents in Shell Nigeria, compared to 224 incidents in 2005. Of this number, sabotage accounted for 165 (69 per cent), while 50 (20 per cent) were controllable incidents (resulting from equipment failure, corrosion or human error). The remaining 26 incidents are yet to be classified or quantified due to access restrictions either by communities or the current insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Oil spills resulting from sabotage continued to be a challenge, with most incidents along our major pipelines and manifolds. Attacks by armed militant groups on some of our major pipelines and facilities in our western operations also led to spills. As in previous years, some communities denied access to spill sites, restricting our ability to respond and clean up spills in good time.

We estimate that there was a significant increase in the total volume of oil spilled in 2006. Two incidents – leaks at the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) at Krakrama (estimated to be 7,000 barrels) and the Nembe-IV (estimated to be 2,500 barrels) – contributed significantly to the volume of controllable spills. The Krakrama spill resulted from accidental damage to the line by a contractor laying a new pipeline along the existing right-of-way. The other spill was due to corrosion. Due to lack of comprehensive documentary evidence and the security situation that greatly limited access to affected areas, we have not published our total spills volume estimate.
***
In 2006, we planned to complete the remediation of 253 out of 317 previously existing oil spill sites. However, only 179 sites were accessible to us. These were restored.

The total number of old oil spill sites so far identified since 1999 is 1,516. By the end of 2006, we had cleaned up 1,338 of these sites.

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