The Nigerian units of American oil giant, ExxobnMobil, and its Anglo Dutch counterpart, Shell, re currently mobilising to clean up some oil spills cited around their areas of operations in the nation's oil rich Niger Delta.
Although Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, MPN, insist that the source of the hydrocarbon remains unknown, even as fingerprinting of collected samples is ongoing, the its spokesman, Nigel Cookey-Gam confirmed to Vanguard that the company "is assisting with the clean-up in cooperation with local authorities."
However, his Shell counterpart, Precious Okolobo, insisted that "there was no spill." He said in a response to Vanguard's enquiry that "We experienced a pump failure at the flowstation (Nembe Creek) as a result of which some oil leaked into a saver pit located within the facility. We quickly shut down and repaired the pump and it is back in service."
But environment activists, the Environmental Rights Action, ERA, a member of the Friends of the Environment, FoE, in a telephone interview with Vanguard said on Sunday that the international oil companies had mobilsed to clean up the spills.
The Non-governmental organisation, NGO, based on "the fishermen's account" is convinced that Mobil and Shell are liabilities for the spills. It argued that the fact that the companies are doing the clean up showed that they were responsible.
"We will soon conclude our reports on the spills because we have spoken to the fishermen at Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State and those at Nembe, in Rivers State," the NGO said.
Apart from Mobil, other oil companies including Total E & P, Afren Plc and Addax Corporation also have operations around the area. But Mobil said it had to do the clean up in compliance with the law, which demands that the nearest facility to spill area should do the clean up pending the conclusion of investigations into the matter.
In two separate incidents last week, Mobil confirmed that oiling from an unknown source was sighted along the shoreline near Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, while indicating that relevant authorities had been informed. Similarly, Shell said on Friday it had contained oil leaked from a failed pump within a flow station on Nembe Creek.