Jump menu

Main content |  back to top

We work hard to reduce the number and volume of operational spills, which are under our control i.e. spills due to corrosion, human error and equipment failure. Over the past 5 years, less than 30% of spills from SPDC facilities have been in this category, whilst the majority have been caused by sabotage or theft. SPDC facilities and pipelines are operated to the highest international standards and certified annually to ISO14001 standard

SPDC has publicly reported oil spill statistics annually since 1995 and this website further enhances transparency by recording as fully as possible every spill that happens from our facilities as soon as it is possible to get accurate information. It tracks the progress of our spill response from when we learn about the leak to when clean-up is completed and signed off.

Go straight to Spill Incident Data 

How we respond to spills

SPDC’s operators continuously monitor for leaks and respond to anomalies. In addition, any reports, either by community surveillance teams under contract to SPDC or by the public, are responded to immediately. SPDC first shuts down the flow of oil to the leak before steps are taken to verify other details about the incident in preparation for the response, which starts with containment. By immediately shutting down pipelines or flowlines that are damaged and containing the spills, we minimize the damage to the environment.

To provide transparency with respect to the cause and consequence of the spill, a team including relevant government agencies and SPDC is accompanied by representatives of impacted communities when they visit the site, as quickly as possible after the leak occurs. This Joint Inspection Visit, or JIV for short, determines the spread, the volume and the cause of the spill.

The government agencies include the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the relevant State Ministry of the Environment and the Police. After the JIV, SPDC’s spill response team makes the necessary repairs and recovers as much of the spilled oil as possible. This is called the clean-up.

After the clean-up, there can still be residual oil that has soaked into the soil, or oil that is sticking to vegetation. A post clean-up inspection, involving representatives from the same parties listed for JIVs, assesses whether the site needs further remediation to comply with international standards. If remediation is not required, then the spill site can be certified clean and the incident closed out.

Remediation is a longer term process aimed at returning the site to its previous state. There are several ways to achieve international standards of restoration depending on whether the spill is on Land or Swamp terrain.

Three methods of Remediation are in use on Land - bioremediation by land farming, Remediation by Stabilization / Solidification and Low Temperature Thermal Desorption. The land farming technique is the predominant method in use and may be applied in-situ (treating the soil on site) or ex-situ (removing the soil to be cleaned elsewhere and returned to site mostly for deeper contamination or sludgy materials).

Remediation in swampy terrain depends on the nature of swamp, whether seasonal or perennial. A seasonal swamp is dry during the dry season and holds water during rainy season. Remediation of the impacted soil can be undertaken using land farming method in the dry season.

In perennial swamps, free phase oil on water and vegetation is cleaned by flushing and skimming whilst oily sediment is cleaned by systematic agitation using manual labour coupled with gentle flushing with river/stream water. The released oil is usually collected in suitable containers and returned to a process flow station or soaked with absorbent pads and incinerated at designated treatment facilities.

After completion of the remediation process, the site is handed over for close-out inspection and certification by the relevant Government agencies. The entire spill response process is governed by performance standards, as prescribed by Nigerian Law, in particular as defined in the DPR EGASPIN 2002 (Department of Petroleum Resources – Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria). This standard is applied to all spills, regardless of the cause.

 

For further information please contact:

Head Oil Spill Response

shellnigeria@shell.com