Documents presented by Nigeria’s oil spill regulatory agency, the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency (NOSDRA) has revealed that International Oil Companies (IOCs) cleaned up only two per cent (2.19%) of the 172 thousand spilt barrels of oil spillages reported within the last five years.
According to data analytics organization, Dataphyte, the entire volume of spills within the five years (January 2016 and June 13, 2021) is equivalent to over 850 fully loaded trucks emptied into the country’s territorial waters, onshore and offshore.
NOSDRA confirmed that only four out of 47 oil companies were involved in these 2% clean-ups. The four are Shell, Agip, Chevron and Seplat, while there was no indication that the remaining 43 companies cleaned up their oil spills at all.
For the companies that duly cleaned up their oil spills, the volume they cleaned was very little compared to the total number of barrels they spilt.
NOSDRA, along with other statutory regulatory bodies, are expected to inspect the amount of oil spills, identify the active pollutant(s) in each case, measure the impact of the oil spillage on the environment, and then certify whether the oil companies responsible have commenced or completed the cleanup of the spillages.
According to NOSDRA’s records, the total 172 thousand barrels of oil spilt were a result of 3,177 incidents, which include incidents of corrosion, sabotage, equipment failure, and operational/maintenance error.
Out of the 47 companies, 26 claimed to have completed clean-ups in 1,188 cases out of the total 3,177 incidents of oil spillages. This leaves 1,989 spill incidents unattended to or uncompleted, according to NOSDRA’s records.
However, a drill down on NOSDRA’s data revealed that the regulatory agencies performed a post-clean up review of only 693 of the 1188 claims of completed clean-ups by the companies, with 475 reported claims of clean-ups yet to be inspected.
In addition, out of the 693 spill cases inspected for clean-up completion, 150 certificates of completion of clean up were issued to oil companies, to indicate the companies have duly completed the clean-up.
Thus, the regulatory agencies certified that only 150 out of the total 3177 cases of oil spillage were actually cleaned completely.