by Stanley Azuakola
On June 19, an oil spill and fire broke out in Bodo community in Ogoniland which has now led to questions being asked on whether the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) managed by Shell can be operated safely.
There are issues as regards the integrity of the pipeline as well as safety across the pipeline network. The TNP normally carries 150, 000 barrels of oil daily to Bonny using a pipeline network that in some places, is over 50 years old.
The latest spill at Bodo is estimated at several thousand barrels of oil and was successfully stopped on June 26th, seven days after it started.
Father Obi of the National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND) said in a statement that, “We are shocked at the level of this spill, its management and the arrest of Shell contractors in the immediate aftermath on suspicion of involvement with oil theft. there are so many questions about an incident near one of the most politically and environmentally sensitive areas of the Niger Delta.”
He welcomed the announcement by Shell of a $1.5bn initiative to replace some of the most troubled TNP pipeline with the ‘TNP loop,’ but said that the “latest incident underlines the serious question of whether the TNP can operate safely while this is being constructed.”
The NACGOND statement stressed that Shell was not the only culpable party, as “there are serious questions about security, the quality of oversight, and government’s priorities of oil production vs. reducing impact on communities.”
Here are some photos from the latest spill incident: