Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nigeria Oil Spill Monitoring Agency Fines Agip Firm A Token $7,000 For Oil Spills

Ogoni Spill-Amensty International photos

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has sanctioned Nigeria's Agip Company Ltd, a mere one N1million fine - equivalent to nearly 7,000 USD - for poor response to oil spills in its operational area.
NOSDRA hopes this minimal fine would send strong signals to end sloppy response to oil spills by multinational oil companies operationg in the Niger Delta region, but observers notes that such a ridiculous amount  in fine is too little to alter the behaviors of major oil companies existing in the region.

Major oil companies operating in Nigeria are notorious for unleashing deadly oil spills in the Niger Delta region for nearly five decades. Cleaning up the area is expected to take 30 years and is expected to cost approximately $1billion USD, according to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) study issued last month.

This fine may be in response to the "UNEP's Ogoniland Study" - A United Nations study on oil spills in the Niger Delta that calls for emergency measures to clean up drinking water wells in the Delta.

According to a statement from NOSDRA obtained by SaharaReporters, the agency imposed the fine on Agip for its failure to remediate oil spill impacted sites in Rivers state.

“The fine was imposed on Agip for lack of response and failure to immediately contain, recover and clean-up oil spill impacted sites at its OB/OB Gas Plant in Obrikom Omoku, 

The statement signed by NOSDRA’s public affairs manager, Mr Henshaw Oguwike, said the agency had informed the affected oil firm of its decision in writing.
“In a letter to Agip dated Sept. 19 2011, over the incident, the Director-General/Chief Executive of NOSDRA, Mr Peter Idabor, said the action of the company amounted to contravention of section 6(3) of the NOSDRA Act,” the statement read in part.

NOSDRA further directed Agip to mobilise to the impacted site already destroyed by inferno resulting from the oil spill for immediate clean-up and remediation so as to prevent further degradation of the environment.
The director-general notified the company on the quantum of compensation to the victims of the oil spill, which would be determined by the outcome of the damage assessment to be conducted by NOSDRA.

The letter, which directed Agip to pay the fine N1million into the account of NOSDRA within 14 days from the date of receipt, advised the company to comply with the sanctions from the oil industry regulator or face stiffer penalty.


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