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SNEPCo Response on the Bonga Oil Spill
Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) Responds to House of Representatives Hearing on the Bonga Oil Spill.
1) Suggestions of a $5bln administrative fine
Contrary to some media reports, no fine of $5 bln or any other sum has been imposed on SNEPCo in relation to the Bonga spill. SNEPCo does not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCo has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine. SNEPCo will challenge the imposition of any fine that is not supported by law.
For clarity, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) indicated for the first time during a hearing at the House of Representatives in Abuja on July 16, 2012 that it would be recommending an administrative fine of $5 billion.
2) Impact on the shoreline
At the House of Representatives hearing NOSDRA stated that the oil found on the shoreline did not match the Bonga oil. SNEPCo had stated at the time of the incident that it believed the oil that impacted some parts of the shoreline was from a third party spill despite SNEPCo’s efforts to tackle it. Regardless of the source of the oil, SNEPCo undertook to clean it up using community contractors, as an act of goodwill. This clean-up has been completed with the exception of one small area where the community has continued to deny SNEPCo access.
3) Use of Dispersants
Internationally approved dispersants were used in strict compliance with local regulations and with the approval of the necessary authorities. They were not used at any time on oil close to the shoreline – this is not allowed by law – and they were deployed both from boats and from the air. The deployment from the air was carried out by internationally recognised oil spill response experts under the supervision of the Nigerian authorities.
4) Community claims for compensation
SNEPCo stated at the time of the incident that it believed it was oil from a third party spill that impacted some parts of the shoreline, which is consistent with the report by NOSDRA to the House of Representatives on July 16, 2012 on the outcome of their finger print analysis. SNEPCo does not believe therefore, that there is any basis for claims for relief materials or compensation related to shoreline impact. Further, given that dispersants were not used close to the shoreline SNEPCo does not believe that they could have impacted coastal communities in any way as is being claimed.