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 Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), as operator of SPDC Joint Venture (SPDC-JV) facilities, operates 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.
SPDC assess and where required remediate areas impacted by spills from its facilities, irrespective of cause. In the case of operational spills it also pays compensation, as stipulated by Nigerian law. Once clean-up and remediation are completed, the work is inspected, approved and certified by the Federal Government regulators - the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The most significant environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta is through crude oil theft and sabotage of facilities resulting in oil spills, as well as illegal refining. The spills are sometimes made worse because communities occasionally deny access to verify the spill and stop the cause of the leak. Unauthorized third-party interference with pipelines and other infrastructure was responsible for around 85% of all oil spill incidents from SPDC-JV facilities in 2015.
SPDC is committed to complying with the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN), Revised Edition 2002. EGASPIN provides for the management and remediation of contaminated land (i.e. soil, groundwater and drinking water). To this end, we have researched and adopted techniques 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. Certification of the satisfactory completion of remediation is performed for all sites by NOSDRA, based on results of analytical laboratory testing. More details on how SPDC prevents and responds to oil spills are available in the 2017 Shell Sustainability Report.
The SPDC-JV works with communities and civil society across the Niger Delta to build greater trust in clean-up processes. Wherever possible, local communities take part in the remedial works. 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 was completed and commissioned in December 2011.
In places where access has been hampered, we continue to work through our community relations officers in those areas to gain access so that we can effectively remediate outstanding sites.