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niger delta map

The Niger Delta is a wetland containing a number of ecological zones: sandy coastal ridge barriers, brackish or saline mangroves, freshwater permanent and seasonal swamp forests, and lowland rain forests. Over the years, the rainforest has been cultivated, leaving only the seasonal and permanent swamps as original vegetation.

SPDC’s operations in the Niger Delta are spread over 30,000 square kilometres. They include a network of more than 6,000 kilometres of flowlines and pipelines, 90 oil fields, 1,000 producing wells, 72 flowstations, 10 gas plants and two major oil export terminals at Bonny and Forcados. Although the company’s operations are spread throughout the region, its footprint impacts directly in only a tiny fraction of the Niger Delta.

We are committed to taking all reasonable action to avoid oil spills and reduce environmental impacts from our operations in the Niger Delta. Unfortunately 70% of all oil spills over the last five years has been the result of sabotage to our facilities.

Though we undertake to stop the cause of leaks, clean up the oil and remediate the impacted areas as fast as possible, this takes a significant toll on the environment. In 2008, saboteurs spilled almost 48,000 barrels of oil in 140 incidents – on average one leak every two and a half days. About 40,000 barrels of this was the result of armed gangs blowing up pipelines with explosives in 10 separate incidents.

Sky News report on oil theft and illegal refining in Nigeria, 7 June 2012.

To prevent operational spills we operate an integrity management programme, designed to ensure that equipment and infrastructure are kept in good condition. In 2008 we replaced 278 kilometres of flowlines – the pipes that carry oil from the wells to processing facilities. All of SPDC’s major facilities have been independently certified to international (ISO 14001) standards, and are verified through regular independent assessments and audits.

When an oil spill occurs a joint investigation team (JIT) – comprising representatives from impacted communities,the government and SPDC – is mobilised as fast as possible.

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 and SPDC inspection team.