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Remediation Issues in the Niger Delta
In Shell in Nigeria, we operate in a way that reduces as far as possible the environmental impact of our activities. We also look for ways to bring environmental and social benefits to the communities where we operate. The standards and practices we use are similar to other Shell operations anywhere in the world. Where land is impacted by oil spills despite the prevention systems in place, we clean up as quickly as possible and remediate the land.
The most significant environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta is through sabotage of facilities resulting in oil spills. The spills are often made worse because communities sometimes deny access to verify the spill and stop the cause of the leak. In the last five years some 70% of all oil spills have been the result of sabotage. Whatever the cause, SPDC is committed to cleaning up spills and remediating the land. Once complete, the work is inspected, approved and certified by the joint government, community and SPDC inspection team.
We have researched and adopted a technique for cleaning up oil spills that we believe to be the most effective for the soil and climate conditions in the equatorial heat of the Niger Delta. We add nutrients that stimulate the natural microbes in the soil. These feed on the oil and break it down. As at 1st Oct 2011 we have completed and certified 71 out of the 74 spill incidents that happened before 2005, the last three are at various stages of completion and we are confident we will complete these.
Wherever possible, local communities take part in the remedial work on paid contracts and in a number of successful projects, local youths have been employed in the remediation process. In addition, some projects have been undertaken to improve host communities. An example of such projects is the construction of a 3.45km road at Ejama Ebubu community. This project will be completed and commissioned in December 2011.
In places where access has been hampered we have worked with our community relations officers in those areas to ensure unfettered access so that we can effectively remediate these outstanding sites.
Sky News report on oil theft and illegal refining in Nigeria, 7 June 2012.