Posted: 07 Feb, 2017

The Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum Resources released a statement last week stating that 2,418 oil spills were recorded in the Nigerian Agip Oil Company’s operations between 2010 and 2016.

At the public hearing for ‘Disposition of the Niger Delta and Activities of Nigeria Agip Oil Company’ the spills were recorded as follows;

  • 2010 – 10 spills
  • 2011 – 10 spills
  • 2012 – 575 spills
  • 2014 – 788 spills
  • 2015 – 498 spills
  • 2016 – 332 spills

Mordecai Ladan, the Director of Petroleum Resources, attributed the majority of spills between 2012 and 2016 to sabotage due to the agitations in the Niger Delta, and because most operations are over land. The hearing also discussed oil spills due to oil theft. A representative from Agip detailed that suspected vandals had illegally installed a valve on a pipeline for the purpose of stealing oil. Further inspection of the pipeline established that a leak has been caused by third party interference.

Illegal refineries and oil bunkering is a growing problem in Nigeria, where the practice has been condemned by the government. The vicious cycle of the oil theft and illegal refineries continues due to alleged widespread joblessness, poverty, and hunger. The theft of Nigerian state oil then exacerbates the problem, taking away critical funding for government services such as education, and health care. The enquiry is continuing to look into the environmental and human impact of the oil spills after the deaths of 14 people in the Azuzuama community in Bayelsa, and widespread water pollution from illegal crude oil distillation.