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.


Effects of Recent Divestments of OMLs on Spills Managed by SPDC

In 2014, SPDC undertook a divestment programme of several onshore licence blocks.  These included OML 18, 24, 25, 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL).

The initial sales and purchase agreements (SPAs) were all signed between SPDC and the prospective purchasers by the 20th October 2014.

With the exception of OML 25 all these assets were divested by 1st March 2015, this being known as the completion date.

As part of the sales process, the new purchasers and operators were informed about spills that had occurred in the past on these assets. 

Within legally binding agreements, the new operators purchased the assets with the proviso that they became responsible for any spills not completed by SPDC by the SPA date.  This means that the number of spills reported on this website will change (reduced by 41 spills) as some spills become the responsibility of the new owners.

Conversely, spills that were completed by SPDC and certified by the regulators before the SPA date will remain on this website.

Spills that occurred between the SPA and completion dates will be the responsibility of SPDC and will also remain on this website.

Spills that occur in the divested OMLs after the completion date are the sole responsibility of the new operators.


For further information please contact:

Head Oil Spill Response


Spill incident data

January 2016 February 2016 March 2016