VENTURES AFRICA – Nigeria’s National Assembly is considering a recommendation by the country’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) for the legislators to sanction Royal Dutch Shell and compel it to pay $5 billion for environmental damages caused by an oil spill at the company’s offshore Bonga field.
NOSDRA made the submission while speaking before a parliamentary committee on Monday about last year’s oil spill at Bonga field. It said about 40,000 barrels were spilled. It further added that although the spill was contained offshore, it threatened the environment and was as a result of Shell’s failure in oil export hose.
“The spilled barrels impacted approximately 950 square kilometres of water surface, affected a great number of sensitive environmental resources. It has a direct social impact on the livelihood of people in the riverine areas whose primary occupation is fishing,” the agency said
But in its defense, Shell said on Tuesday that there is no legal justification for such fine.
“We do not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCo (Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co) has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine,” the company said in a statement.
The company also described its response to the spill as professional and with the consent of the necessary authorities in order to prevent environmental impact as a result of the spill.
During the oil spill at the 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga field in December 2011, more than 40,000 barrels-a-day of oil were spilling into the ocean making it Nigeria’s worst offshore spill in more than a decade.