8 January 2013

Nigeria: Mobil Yet to Clean Up Oil Spill On Ibeno Shoreline

About three weeks after oil spill was reported within the Qua Iboe oil fields being operated by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the cleanup of the contaminated Atlantic shoreline is yet to be carried out.

Already, residents of Ibeno coastal settlement, which hosts the Qua Iboe fields, said the marine environment had been left at the mercy of tidal waves spreading the crude deposits farther along the coastline.

THISDAY recalled that several oil spill incidents had been recorded at the oil field on August 13, August 24. November 9, December 16 and December 19, 2012.

The oil field from where the spill emanated is operated by the Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), a subsidiary of the US oil firm, ExxonMobil.

MPN presently exports an average 600,000 barrels of crude daily from its two oil blocks from the Qua Iboe oil export terminal.

Residents at the coastal settlements on the Atlantic coastline, who reacted to the development and its implications, decried the insensitivity of the oil firm in abandoning the spill reported to the MPN officials since the middle of December 2012.

"We started seeing fresh oil deposits since December 16, and we reported to Mobil and they came to inspect and collected samples of the oil.

"But up till now, they have not responded to clean it up. And the dynamic nature of the tide at this time of the year has not helped matters.

"The tide has been flushing the oil to other places and this is worsening the situation," John Etim, a resident and community leader in Iwuokpom community in Ibeno said.

Ikpe Jonathan, who also works for an oil services firm at the oil field, said the offshore crude facility was responsible for the rupture of the pipeline that caused the earlier spill of November 9 last year.

"The source of the oil came from the same pipeline they claimed to have fixed, the pipeline discharged more oil when the divers tried unsuccessfully to repair the leak, the entire pipeline network lacks integrity and needs total replacement and not patchwork that they are currently doing.

"Rather than do the right thing which is to replace the pipelines, Mobil officials keep cutting corners because the only thing the government cares about is the oil money and not the safety of the environment," Jonathan said.

MPN had confirmed a reported spill within its operations at the Qua Iboe oil fields in Akwa Ibom and pledged to clean up the impacted areas immediately.

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