Yenagoa - The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on Sunday in Yenagoa blamed the incessant oil spills in Bayelsa on the activities of oil thieves.
SPDC’s spokesperson, Joseph Obari noted that oil thieves were responsible for 80 percent of the oil spills in Bayelsa.
Obari said the state’s Okordia-Ikarama area was a hotbed of pipeline vandalism, and the spills.
“The perpetrators’ personal gains are the driving force of the illegal activities. A total of 21 spills have been recorded in the area between 2009 and now.
"Of the number, 17 of them were due to deliberate cutting of SPDC pipelines and manifold. The four spills caused by equipment failure occurred at previously-clamped sabotage points, already weakened by repeated cuts.
Obari explained that the remediation of the 2013 spill sites was delayed because of last year’s flooding in the area.
He said another act of sabotage occurred on January 27 on the Ikarama Manifold, resulting in the spilling of about 302 barrels of crude oil on the SPDC’s right-of-way and beyond.
The spokesperson said the spill impacted on 74 acres of land, with almost all the spilled oil having been recovered.
He said several efforts made by the oil company to reduce the incidence of spills in the area, which was its important operational base, had yielded little results.
"The company engaged members of Ikarama community as surveillance contractors, and it also engaged the youths in several skills acquisition and economic empowerment schemes,’’ Obari said.
He urged Ikarama residents to reciprocate the company’s good gesture and assist it in fighting oil theft, to attract more developmental projects to the area.
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