Mobil neglects oil spill at Qua Iboe oil fields in Akwa Ibom State.
Two months after oil spills from a field in Akwa Ibom operated by global oil giant, Mobil, the company is yet to complete a clean-up of the area of the spill thus endangering the lives of residents.
The company’s refusal to clean up was first reported by this paper on December 28. Read it here.
Some residents of Ibeno community in Akwa Ibom have expressed concern over their continued exposure to the crude oil discharged from the Qua Iboe oil fields.
The suspended clean-up of a November 9, 2012 oil spill, which reportedly discharged some 200 barrels of crude, is yet to resume after the agreed resumption date of January 7, 2013.
Also, the clean-up of a December 19, 2012, spill incident at Mobil’s oil field off Ibeno coastline is yet to commence.
Ukott Esenem, a community leader in Ibeno, said on Monday that the abandoned clean-up exercise is posing a “serious” threat to public safety.
”Everyone knows that crude oil is toxic to aquatic life that our fishermen depend on, and leaving the oil un-cleaned for about one month is very hazardous, and the tide has been spreading the oil along the coastline.
”And the same oil firm claims to care about health, safety and environmental component of their operations; it is hypocritical and nothing has happened since one month now.
“The oil has been leaking from the pipelines because they are trying to repair it and they are using toxic chemical dispersants to dissolve and sink the oil to the sea bed,” Mr. Esenem said.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, had directed the company to clean up the coastline within its oil fields affected by the spill.
Although, the firm confirmed the December 19 spill incident in a statement and pledged to clean up the site, checks at the Atlantic coastline in Ibeno on Monday showed that the exercise was yet to commence.
The statement made available in Eket was signed by Mobil’s Communications Manager, Nigel Cookey-Gam.
Mr. Cookey-Gam had said, “Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that on Dec. 19, community representatives notified the company of slight oiling on short sections of the shoreline of Ibeno, Akwa Ibom.
”MPN immediately deployed a team to inspect the site and samples of the oiling were taken for analysis to help determine the source.
”Sections of shoreline with any oiling will be cleaned immediately,” he added.
Mr. Esinem urged NOSDRA to sanction Mobil with appropriate penalties to compel the oil firm to be alive to its responsibilities in operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Meanwhile, public affairs officials in Mobil declined comments on the delays in the clean up as they neither responded to e-mail enquiries nor took mobile phone calls.
International Oil Companies in Nigeria have been accused of engaging in environment pollution. Encouraged by lack of sanctions, or at least a spank on the palm, most oil majors, including Mobil, spill crude oil on lands and waters, flare gas and generally make life uninhabitable in areas where they operate.