Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) and the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) are having a sharp disagreement over the use of dispersants in containing the Nov. 9 oil spill.
NOSDRA maintained yesterday that the 2006 Act empowered it as the agency to coordinate the implementation of oil spill contingency plans.
Mr Musa Idris, the NOSDRA Director, Oil Spill Response, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the agency never issued any approvals to deploy dispersants in the oil spill clean-up process.
"No approval was sought from the Director-General of NOSDRA as specified and recommended in the NOSDRA Act; the DPR approval letter is questionable and we should see it," Idris said.
However, Mobil's spokesman, Mr Nigel Cookey-Gam, told NAN that the company obtained the approval from the Department of Petroleum Resources.
According to a statement from Mobil signed by Mr Paul Arinze, the General Manager in charge of Government and Public Affairs, the oil firm was making progress in the mop up of the spill.
He said that heavy equipment, including oil spill booms, pumps, aircraft, spill response vessels and some 500 response workers were deployed during the exercise.
Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the NNPC (NNPC/MPN) Joint Venture provided the following update on clean-up operations in Akwa Ibom.
"We are working closely with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Environment and local community leaders, in a joint team to determine coastal shorelines that might have been affected," the statement quoted Mark Ward, MPN Managing Director, as saying.
"We thank them for their cooperation and support and for the understanding of the local communities that may have been affected in one way or another.
"Dispersants approved by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had earlier been used to disperse the oil offshore.
"Mobil Producing Nigeria is committed to a speedy and comprehensive cleanup; our oil spill response plans have been quickly implemented in line with this objective," the oil firm said.