Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has stated that the completion of the initial clean-up of areas impacted by the various incidents of oil pills recorded so far in January 2013 by the company had been scheduled for March 2013.
In its January 2013 Monthly Spill Incident Data, which was released recently, the company said it had recorded four incidents of oil spill across the Niger Delta this month.
The four incidents, according to the company report, were caused by acts of vandalism and crude oil thieves.
Shell also disclosed that the first two oil spills occurred on swampy terrain, while the last two happened on land.
The first incident of oil spill this year occurred on January 2, 2013 when vandals ruptured the company's 10-inch Diebu Creek - Nun River Pipeline at Onyoma and spilled nearly 100 barrels of crude oil.
The company commenced the recovery of spilled volume on January 6, 2013 and like in all other cases, initial cleanup of residual impacted area is planned for completion in March.
On January 7, the company recorded another incident on the 24-inch Nkpoku - Bomu Pipeline at Sime and completed the recovery of spilled volume on January 12.
Shell also suffered sabotage spill on January 9, along the 24-inch Bomu - Bonny Pipeline at Mogho and commenced recovery of spilled volume on January 10.
The fourth spill recorded so far this month, occurred on January 14 on the 18-inch Isimiri Pipeline at Uzuakwu and the company completed the recovery of spilled volume on January 15.
Shell said in the spill report that to provide transparency with respect to the cause and consequence of the spill, a team including relevant government agencies and SPDC was accompanied by representatives of impacted communities when they visited the sites, as quickly as possible after the leak occurs.
According to the company, the Joint Inspection Visit (JIV) "determines the spread, the volume and the cause of the spill".
The government agencies include the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the relevant State Ministry of the Environment and the Police.
"After the cleanup, there can still be residual oil that has soaked into the soil, or oil that is sticking to vegetation. A post cleanup inspection, involving representatives from the same parties listed for JIVs, assesses whether the site needs further remediation to comply with international standards. If remediation is not required, then the spill site can be certified clean and the incident closed out," said the report.
Remediation is a longer term process aimed at returning the site to its previous state.
According to the company, there are several ways to achieve international standards of restoration depending on whether the spill is on land or swampy terrain.
"Three methods of remediation are in use on land - Remediation by Enhanced Natural Attenuation (RENA), Remediation by Stabilisation / Solidification and Low Temperature Thermal Desorption. The RENA technique is the predominant method in use and may be applied in-situ (treating the soil on site) or ex-situ - removing the soil to be cleaned elsewhere and returned to site," the report added.