In the morning of Dec. 20th 2011, one of the three export risers (“Riser”3) that linked the Bonga FPSO to an intermediate loading Bouy, (the SPM) located approximately 1 nautical mile from the Bonga FPSO, failed.
As a result of this failure approximately 40,000 Barrels of Bonga light crude were spilled. SNEPCO acted Promptly to contain the spill. The evidence is that SNEPCO immediately mobilized to respond to the Dec. 2011 spill. On the same day as Dec. 2011 spill, it mobilized its own and external resources, including those of oil spill response limited (“OSRL”), the oil industry’s largest oil spill response cooperative organization, and clean Nigeria Associates, a regional industry cooperative.
As a result of this efforts, which included the deployment of resources including Boeing 747 and C-130 Aircraft, the Dec. 2011 spill was effectively contained within a matter of Days.
The cause of the spill has since been the subject of detailed investigatory process. The investigation carried out by an expert team including both the contractor and sub-contractor responsible for the design and construction of Riser 3.
The investigation determined that the cause of the spill was the failure of pipe section 133. The National petroleum investment management services, which is the part of the NNPC charged with managing the Nigerian government’s upstream oil and gas,to whom the investigative findings reports, also had representatives on the team.
In turn these investigative conclusions have been accepted by NOSDRA and other regulatory authorities, including before the Nigerian courts and parliament.
Whilst SNEPCO’s remediation efforts were ongoing, on 24 Dec 2011 the remediation team observed a clear trail of oil from an unknown source.
This “Mystery Spill” ( a technical designation under Nigerian regulations) was sighted around 90km from the Bonga FPSO, near the Forcados shoreline. Though it was by no means clear that this spill was SNEPCO’s responsibility (including for the purposes of clean up) SNEPCO undertook to remediate it because it was the right thing to do as a responsible operator.
The remediation team noticed that the location, shape, colour and smell of the oil from the “mystery spill” were different to that of the Bonga FPSO. Though the spill did not originate from the Bonga FPSO, SNEPCO undertook to clean it up, as part of remediation efforts aimed at containing the Dec. 20th spill.
In doing so SNEPCO proactively engaged shoreline communities in the area to secure their cooperation and gained access to extend clean- up activities to areas impacted by the “mystery spill”
This series is from the stable of the Oil spills victims vanguard a non- governmental organization (NGO) incorporated with the corporate affairs commission, OSPIVV is an initiative whose main object is dedicated to fight for compensation for victims of oil spills, health hazards of gas flaring, transparency and accountability in the Extractive industries in Nigeria.
HARRISON JALLA is an Executive Director(OSPIVV).

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