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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), as operator of the SPDC Joint Venture (SPDC-JV), is committed to operating its facilities in a responsible manner with due regard for the environment.

A key priority for SPDC-JV is to achieve the goal of zero spills from our operations as no operational spill is acceptable and we work hard to prevent them. When spills originate from SPDC-JV facilities, we respond quickly and in line with regulations and globally accepted good practice to clean them up.

From observation and experience we have found that Illegal refining activities cause the most environmental damage in the Niger Delta, whilst at SPDC-JV facilities, crude oil theft and sabotage cause the majority of oil spills (see below data).

SPDC-JV has publicly reported oil spill statistics annually since 1995 in the Shell Sustainability Report, and this website further enhances transparency on spills from SPDC-JV facilities in Nigeria. It tracks the progress of our spill management from when we detect the spill to when clean-up and remediation are completed and certified by Government Regulators.

SPDC-JV was the first oil and gas company in Nigeria to publish data on its spills on a publicly accessible website. Our SPDC-JV oil spills website went live in 2011 and is updated regularly.

For incidents from September 2020 the final recovered spill volumes, which may exceed spill volumes recovered at the time of the JIV, will begin to be populated on the basis of relevant approved documentation. Note: ‘n/a’ is indicated in the ‘Recovered Spill Volume’ column for incidents before this date or where data has yet to be inputted.

How we respond to spills

The key steps in the SPDC JV Spill Management process once a spill is identified are:

  • Immediately shut down production, isolate, and depressurize the impacted facility;
  • Initiate containment to prevent the further spread of oil;
  • Notify Regulators of the incident;
  • Conduct a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) with a Joint Investigation Team (the JIT comprises representatives of SPDC-JV, regulators, government security agencies, state governments, communities, and occasionally local NGOs as observers, to establish the cause, volume, extent and impact of the spilled oil. If disagreements arise during a JIV they are resolved as soon as possible. In the rare event where the issue of concern persists, it is subjected to further independent scientific testing.
  • Complete free phase oil recovery/clean-up;
  • Conduct an intrusive site assessment (Post Clean-up Inspection), if required post-JIV;
  • Execute remediation, if required based on outcome of the JIV and/or Post Clean up Inspection; and,
  • Once clean-up and remediation are completed, have the work inspected and, if satisfactory, approved and certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Federal Government of Nigeria regulator. In the case of operational spills, compensation is paid to individuals and communities impacted by the spill.

SPDC-JV regularly tests its emergency spill response procedures and capability to ensure it can respond rapidly and effectively to a spill incident.

SPDC-JV has researched and adopted techniques for cleaning up and remediating oil spills that it believes to be the most effective for the soil and climate conditions of the Niger Delta. These practices are compliant with the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN, 2018), which establish the framework for the management and remediation of oil spills.

SPDC-JV works with communities and civil society across the Niger Delta to build trust in its spill response and clean-up processes. Local communities are engaged and participate in the clean-up and remediation processes and if cause of spill is operational, communities play an active role in selection of suitable contractor for the cleanup/remediation.